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Mason, Blue Jackets shut out Bruins

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- After beating one of the Western

Conference's elite teams over the weekend, Steve Mason and the

Columbus Blue Jackets turned the trick against the best the East

had to offer Tuesday.

The rookie goaltender made 35 saves for his NHL-leading ninth

shutout of the season as the Blue Jackets topped the Boston

Bruins, 2-0.

Raffi Torres scored on the power play in the third period and

captain Rick Nash added an empty-net goal in the final minute to

help the Blue Jackets secure the win.

"It was an important game, but we were playing well," Columbus

coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We needed to keep going, and

Boston's a really good team. They play the game the right way.

I just felt like we were getting a very tough game and I was

getting a great evaluation of our team, individually and

collectively. The response we wanted from our team after the

first four minutes was right on the mark, and then we battled

on."

Mason tied the franchise record for shutouts in a season set by

Pascal Leclaire in 2007-08.

"I felt pretty comfortable out there, but the team did a great

job in front of me," Mason said. "It was a tight game right to

the end, but we were pretty sound defensively the whole game.

"Tonight was huge. We had a good effort against Detroit (an 8-2

win on Saturday), but we had to put that one behind us pretty

quickly. So for us to come off of that with a big win against

Boston, it was definitely big."

He also matched a team mark with his 27th win, stopping five

shots in the first period, 15 in the second and 15 in the third.

Marc Denis also posted 27 victories in 2002-03.

Tim Thomas made 32 saves for the reeling Bruins, who still sit

atop the Eastern Conference standings despite having lost five

of their last six games (1-4-1).

"We're creating stuff," Boston's Marc Savard said. "We had some

opportunities where we had to finish them. It comes down to

myself, the top goal-scorers and the play guys, we've got to put

the puck in the net. Give the kid (Mason) credit. He made some

good saves, but that's no excuse. We've got to get something

behind him in the chances we had."

With Boston turning up the pressure after a lackluster first

period, Torres provided all the scoring Columbus needed 6:50

into the third.

"It's very exciting," Torres said. "We are winning some big

games right now, and this is when you have to start winning.

Every game from here on out is a playoff game. It's exciting to

see the guys getting excited."

As Boston captain Zdeno Chara's high-sticking penalty was about

to expire, Torres skated down the right wing and snapped a shot

past Thomas for his seventh goal of the season.

Columbus kept its hold on sixth place in the West, although

seven teams are within seven points of the Blue Jackets.

"Pressure has to be fun," Hitchcock said of the playoff race.

"If you're not having fun, you are not going to be able to

perform. We have to play hard, compete and have fun. We're

having fun competing."

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