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Jackets goalie Mason remains on a roll in 6-1 win over Avalanche

DENVER - Steve Mason was lamenting the lone goal he let in.

"Probably should've had it," the Columbus goalie said. Almost did. Mason was a leg stretch away from extending his shutout streak, allowing a first-period goal before slamming the door as the Columbus Blue Jackets cruised to a 6-1 win over Colorado on Friday night.

The 20-year-old rookie had his franchise-record three-game shutout streak snapped with Darcy Tucker's goal late in the first period.

Mason went 199 minutes, 19 seconds between goals allowed.

It could've been longer.

"That's kind of disappointing when you look at it that way," said Mason, who backstopped the Blue Jackets to their fourth straight win. "It went through a couple of guys and I didn't get the greatest push across."

The end of the streak does unburden the Blue Jackets, the pressure of preserving and protecting shutouts now gone.

"In some sense, it was kind of nice, a huge weight is off everyone's shoulders," said Rick Nash, who finished with a penalty shot goal and three assists. "He's been amazing."

Mason has been calm in goal all season, rarely rattled.

That stuns Nash.

"He plays like he's been in the league 10 years," Nash said. "He doesn't get flustered. He plays like a veteran."

Mason deflected 23 shots in the game, and then praise after.

"It was a heck of a game from the guys," said Mason, who was selected as the league's rookie of the month Friday, posting a 7-5 record in December with a 1.41 goals-against average. "I really had to do absolutely nothing."

Kristian Huselius scored twice for the surging Blue Jackets, his first multi-goal game of the season. After being held pointless for five games in mid-December, Huselius has three goals and three assists over his past eight games.

"There were some good plays to set them up," Huselius said. "I didn't do much more than shoot the puck."

Nash was putting the puck on the stick all night, tying a career high with his three assists. He also scored his first career goal on a penalty shot, beating Peter Budaj with a low liner in the second period.

"I struggle with those," he said. "I like someone hanging off my back. It was timely."

Nash was awarded the shot after being hooked from behind by Brett Clark as he skated in on a breakaway.

"I haven't seen the replay of the actual penalty," he said, smiling. "I know he got me a little; I wasn't able to raise the puck. Maybe a hook."

The Avalanche dominated the opening period, then went dormant, much to the dismay of coach Tony Granato.

"We lost the game in the second period," he said. "That pretty much sums it up."

Columbus scored three times in the second period to send the team to a second straight win at the Pepsi Center this season. The Blue Jackets were 1-12-1 in Denver before this season.

"We changed and adjusted," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said of the second period. "We really went after it and played our game."

Mason kept the Avalanche in line, surrendering little. He's allowed two goals or fewer in 10 of his past 11 starts.

"When you're having success, you take it in stride," he said. "I try to not let things bother me."

Ian Laperriere was bothered a bit by his team's play Friday night.

"They compete, which we didn't do," he said. "If you don't prepare yourself for the game, it doesn't matter which system the coaches put out there, you won't have any chance to win. That was the best example tonight."

The Avalanche seem to exalt in stopping shutout streaks, snapping Vancouver's Roberto Luongo's string of three in a row earlier this season.

Not that Mason was sad to see his streak end.

"Everybody makes a big deal about it," he said. "At the end of the day, the most important thing for the hockey club is getting wins ... We can start focusing more on wins now."

Notes: The Blue Jackets play in St. Louis on Saturday night and Mason will be back in net. ... Mike Commodore and Jakub Voracek scored a minute apart early in the third period. ... R.J. Umberger added a goal late in the game to help the Blue Jackets tie their season high of six goals.


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