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POST GAME: at Dallas

Mason turns in another strong performance; Wisniewski hurt

Thursday, 12.29.2011 / 11:56 PM / News
By Rob Mixer  - BlueJackets.com
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POST GAME: at Dallas

GAME DAY ON THE ROAD presented by:

Just as they did a month ago in Nashville, the Blue Jackets played a terrific road game and earned a huge victory, 4-1 tonight over the Dallas Stars.


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For the 15th time this season, the Blue Jackets entered the third period holding a lead. Antoine Vermette’s second-period rebound goal gave Columbus a 2-1 margin after 40 minutes, and they followed that up with one of their best third-period efforts of the year. It was led by captain Rick Nash, who was the most dangerous player on the ice and netted a pair of goals – his second marker pushing the Blue Jackets lead to 3-1 early in the third.

For the second game in a row, Steve Mason was a difference-maker in goal. The Blue Jackets netminder made 36 saves and kept the Stars at bay as they pushed to get back in the game. He’s allowed just one goal in the past two games and got his first road win of the season in a building he loves to play in.

The Blue Jackets weathered the storm on their front, as well. James Wisniewski left the game in the second period after a blocking a shot and did not return, leaving the Blue Jackets with five defensemen the rest of the way.

They got big contributions from a pair of rookies – Ryan Johansen (assist) and John Moore (two assists) and the former had a big hand in both of Nash’s goals. Johansen made a solid play behind the net in the first period, and walked out in front with a centering pass that found Nash all alone. Nash buried it into the open side for his team-leading 11th of the season.

Dallas came back with a Vernon Fiddler goal midway through the first, but Vermette’s goal was the momentum-changer. The Blue Jackets got back to their team game and managed the puck well in the final two periods, and got the saves from Mason along the way.

Vermette’s goal stood as the game-winner, but Nash’s goal in the third period was crucial to the Blue Jackets getting two points tonight. Their struggles in the third period have been well-documented, but they came out with a different attitude for the final 20 minutes. Again, it was Johansen and Moore who helped make it happen: Moore made a nice play up high to allow Nash room in the slot, and the captain walked in and snapped it high-blocker over Lehtonen.

The Blue Jackets got into some late penalty trouble, but their penalty kill came up big on back-to-back power plays for Dallas.

The Blue Jackets scored the first goal of the game for the 19th time this season. The club is now 9-7-3 in those games, while going 4-10-3 when tied after the first period and 8-5-2 when leading after two periods.

Nash scored his first goal in four games with his team leading 11th and 12th goals of the season. It marked his second multi-goal outing of the season and first since Nov. 25 vs. Buffalo, a span of 14 games. He has collected 5-5-10 the last 13 games and 8-6-14 the last 18 games after being held to 1-3-4 the previous 10 games.

Johansen has points in three of the last four games after notching an assist on Nash’s first goal. He has 2-2-4 the last four games after being held pointless the previous 10 games.

Moore picked up the first assist of his NHL career with a helper on Vermette’s goal. The assist comes in his 28th career game. It was his first point since scoring his first career NHL goal Oct. 25 vs. Detroit, a span of 23 games. He later had an assist on Nash’s second goal for his first NHL multi-point game.

Nikita Nikitin has assists in four of the last seven games after collecting an assist on Nash’s second goal. He pushed his career highs in assists and points to 13 and 14, respectively. He has played in 23-plus minutes in all but four games this season, including 25:18 tonight.

Mason stopped 36-of-37 shots to earn the win tonight. He is 1-0-1 with a 1.00 goals-against average and .968 save percentage his last two starts.

vs. Washington Capitals
Nationwide Arena | Columbus, Ohio
Saturday, 7 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: CD102.5 FM & BlueJackets.com

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