NHL Game Summary - Calgary at Columbus
(Thursday, March 26th)
Final Score: Columbus 5, Calgary 0
Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Jason Williams scored a pair of power-play goals and rookie goaltender Steve Mason stopped all 33 shots for his NHL-best 10th shutout as the Columbus Blue Jackets moved a little closer to claiming their first-ever playoff spot by routing the Calgary Flames, 5-0, at Nationwide Arena.
Manny Malhotra, Raffi Torres and R.J. Umberger also tallied for Columbus, which bounced back from a 2-1 overtime loss at Tampa Bay on Tuesday. The Blue Jackets, who have won seven of their last nine overall, now have 85 points and are four behind idle Chicago for second place in the Central Division.
Columbus also sits in sixth place in the Western Conference and are only two points behind Vancouver for fifth. The Canucks fell 4-2 to St. Louis on Thursday.
Rick Nash and Kristian Huselius each registered four assists apiece in the win.
"I thought we had a lot of good performances throughout the lineup, especially in the third period," Blue Jackets head coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Our defenseman did a great job against the boards, defending. We moved it well five-on-five and on the power play. Our goalie was a big part of this too, so we needed to show ourselves we could raise our competitive level. We raised our competitive level and got rewarded for it."
The Flames were coming off a 2-0 setback at Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Calgary, which has lost seven of 10 overall, remain on top of the Northwest Division with 90 points, but only three ahead of Vancouver.
Miikka Kiprusoff surrendered three goals on 17 shots for Calgary, before being replaced by Curtis McElhinney in the early stages of the second period. McElhinney turned aside 17-of-19 shots over the remainder of the contest.
"I think that we showed some elements of frustration and lack of discipline in certain areas, particularly when it wasn't going our way," Calgary head coach Mike Keenan said. "Maybe that's their way to express their frustration as a group taking undisciplined penalties that put your team at a disadvantage."
Malhotra opened the scoring 3:43 into the contest when he took a nice feed from Nash and put it home from in close on the left side.
The Blue Jackets then upped their lead to 2-0 at 12:29 while skating with the man advantage. Huselius spotted Williams in the high slot and the veteran center fired a wrist shot that got through a screen and barely trickled across the goal line.
In the second, Torres shoveled a Nash dish past Kiprusoff 3:04 into the stanza to stretch the Columbus lead to three. The Flames netminder was then pulled in favor of McElhinney.
Umberger's wrist shot from the right circle handcuffed McElhinney, extending the hosts advantage to 4-0 with 5:43 left in the second.
Things didn't get any better for the visitors in the third as Williams tallied his second power-play goal of the game at 1:08 and Mason was impenetrable the rest of the way.
Columbus will visit St. Louis on Saturday, while the Flames begin a brief two- game homestand against Minnesota...The Blue Jackets improved to 24-11-2 at home this season. Calgary dropped to 18-17-2 as the guests...Both teams split four matchups this year.
03/26 23:35:26 ET