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Mason looks to give Blue Jackets fourth straight win

Phoenix (7-6-0) at Columbus (7-6-2), 7:00 pm EDT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- Rookie goaltender Steve Mason has

eased the pain of the Columbus Blue Jackets' early season slump.

Mason and the Blue Jackets can complete a perfect four-game home

stretch when they host the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday.

The 20-year-old Mason turned aside 22 shots in the Blue Jackets'

3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Saturday, and he was

named the NHL's second star of the week two days later. He also

helped Columbus notch its longest streak since winning four in a

row from January 11-17.

Mason, who has won all three of his NHL starts, was called up

from Syracuse of the American Hockey League on November 4 due

when Pascal Leclaire (sprained ankle) and backup Fredrik Norrena

(groin) were lost to injury for an indefinite period.

"With Mason's play these last three games, he's certainly giving

everybody in this organization some strong food for thought,

right across the board," Coach Ken Hitchcock said to the

Columbus Dispatch.

Mason is not the only rookie to make a splash for the Blue

Jackets, who began the season with six losses in nine contests.

Center Derick Brassard leads all first-year players with 13

points and Jakub Voracek has nine.

The trio have been major factors in Columbus' six-game point

streak. The streak is the longest since a 5-0-1 stretch between

October 23 and November 4 last season.

Phoenix has also been propelled by budding stars. Peter Mueller

-- the eighth overall pick taken two spots after Brassard in

2006 -- scored for the second straight game and added an assist.

Olli Jokinen had two goals as the Coyotes rolled to a 4-2 win

over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.

Acquired in an offseason trade with the Florida Panthers,

Jokinen has six goals and three assists over his last six

contests, and a goal and three assists during a three-game point

streak against Columbus.

Both Mueller and Jokinen scored in the Coyotes' 3-1 victory over

the Blue Jackets on October 11, the only meeting between the

clubs this season.


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