Sports Outside the Beltway

Rookie Goalie Steve Mason stymies Washington, Columbus wins 3-0

It’s because of Mason that the Blue Jackets find themselves in contention for their first ever playoff appearance. From

Steve Mason already led the NHL in goals-against average and save percentage. The rookie goaltending sensation for the Columbus Blue Jackets now has sole possession of the lead in shutouts as well, despite having spent the first month of the season in the minor leagues.

Mason stopped all 45 shots by the Washington Capitals, and the injury-plagued Jackets got a goal and assist each from Jared Boll and Fedor Tyutin in a 3-0 win Friday night at Verizon Center, finishing with an impressive 4-2 record on a six-game road trip.

“It’s huge for us,” Mason said. “Obviously, with a lot of guys out of the lineup it was a big opportunity for other guys to step up. They did that. We had a down first period, but the guys bounced back in the second and the third.”

Mason’s sixth shutout broke a tie with Niklas Backstrom of Minnesota and Roberto Luongo of Vancouver, who achieved all of his prior to Nov. 8 and has been out since late November after hurting his groin.

Mason, whose goals against fell to 1.74 while his save percentage improved to .939, didn’t make his NHL debut until Nov. 5, but he took advantage of an injury to Pascal Leclaire and has since taken the starting job.

Mason is having a great year and should be given serious consideration for rookie of the year.

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