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Mason, Blue Jackets stay red hot against Hurricanes

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Steve Mason apparently is

over his illness.

Mason delivered another solid effort in net Saturday as the

Columbus Blue Jackets posted yet another win, a 5-1 victory over

the Carolina Hurricanes.

Mason made a successful return from mononucleosis on Friday,

making 32 saves in a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. The

rookie netminder stopped 26 shots in this one against the

Hurricanes to record his 21st victory of the season.

"We've put together a pretty good stretch of hockey," Mason

said. "I think everybody realizes what's at stake with the

games left this season. We have to take advantage of it. Every

game is important. The standings, every day they change."

Kristian Huselius scored two goals and set up another while

defenseman Mike Commodore, R.J. Umberger and Manny Malhotra also

tallied for the Blue Jackets, who extended their winning streak

to a season high-tying four games.

"We came out hard at the beginning," Commodore said. "Carolina

is an explosive team. They take risks. Their D-men, some of

them are like forwards, so to get one in the first period

quieted the crowd a little bit."

The win not only extended Columbus' streak but also was the

first this season for the Blue Jackets on the back end of

back-to-back road games. They were 0-5-3 entering Saturday.

"I thought they did a good job," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock

said. "Our defense and goaltending really held us in. I

thought out defensemen as a group played really well. We had

some timely scoring and our goaltender was really good when we

were making mistakes with the puck out front. He really held us

in there in the second period."

Blue-liner Dennis Seidenberg netted the lone goal for Carolina,

which has lost two straight and been outscored, 10-1, in the

process.

"It's hard to score goals when we don't get any traffic,"

Seidenberg said. "If you don't get the puck to the net, you

don't score."

Commodore, a former Hurricane, opened the scoring midway through

the first period with his fifth goal of the season. Huselius

converted during a power play in the second period, scoring on

the rebound of a shot by blue-liner Kris Russell at 9:14.

"I have nothing but positive memories from day one of my time in

Carolina," said Commodore, who was traded to Ottawa in February

2008 before signing with Columbus last summer. "Everything was

great. Obviously, we won a Stanley Cup. Everything was

positive.

"At the same time, you like to come back and score a goal

against your old team, it doesn't matter who it is. Tonight was

a good night."

Umberger made it 3-0 early in the final session with his 17th

goal of the season. The tally came during a 5-on-3 advantage.

Seidenberg cut the deficit to two with an unassisted goal at

6:29. But Malhotra answered four minutes later and Huselius

capped the win an empty-netter.

Cam Ward made 15 saves for the Hurricanes, who outshot the Blue

Jackets, 27-20.

"We're not doing enough to score goals," Carolina coach Paul

Maurice said. "We don't seem to want to put the puck in the

net. When you're playing catch-up all the time, it's very, very

difficult."

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