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LaCosta shines in second career start as Blue Jackets win

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- Being led by a rookie goaltender has

become old news for the Columbus Blue Jackets. But even with

Steve Mason sidelined, the trend continued.

Dan LaCosta made 31 saves in his second career start and Andrew

Murray snapped a scoreless tie early in the third period as the

Blue Jackets posted a 3-0 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on

Tuesday.

Jason Williams and Fredrik Modin also tallied and defenseman Jan

Hejda recorded two assists for Columbus, which has won two in a

row following a three-game losing streak.

Recalled from Syracuse of the American Hockey League on Friday

in the wake of Mason and backup Wade Dubielewicz both suffering

from various ailments, LaCosta turned aside four shots in the

first period, 13 in the second and 14 in the third to post his

first career shutout.

Peter Budaj made 27 saves for the Avalanche, who have lost six

of their last seven meetings with the Blue Jackets.

The 20-year-old Mason has been spectacular in his first season

in the NHL, posting a 19-12-2 record with a league-leading seven

shutouts. The front-runner for the Calder Trophy, Mason also is

tops with a 2.09 goals-against average and ranks sixth with a

.923 save percentage.

However, Columbus' third-round pick in 2006 was placed on

injured reserve with mononucleosis on Saturday. Dubielewicz,

meanwhile, has been battling the flu this week.

Considering his goaltending situation, Blue Jackets coach Ken

Hitchcock was forced to start the 22-year-old LaCosta again,

just three nights after he made 28 saves in a 3-2 overtime win

over the Western Conference-leading San Jose Sharks.

LaCosta was not tested early in this contest, as Columbus

outshot Colorado, 16-4, in the first period.

Budaj was just as impressive throughout the first 40 minutes of

play but fizzled in the final period as the Avalanche were

handed their second straight loss.

Murray gave LaCosta all the support he needed 2:29 into the

third, firing a wrist shot past Budaj from the doorstep.

Williams doubled the advantage at 9:43 by wristing the puck by

Budaj from the right faceoff circle. Modin secured Columbus'

first season-series sweep of Colorado by deflecting in Hejda's

shot while positioned in front of the crease with 7:44 left.

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