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The last two times they've visited Columbus, the Minnesota Wild have won. That could be difficult with the way Blue Jackets rookie goalie Steve Mason has been playing.
Minnesota looks to finish its four-game road trip with a third victory Saturday night when it visits Mason and the Blue Jackets.
Minnesota (20-17-3) didn't allow a goal while opening its trip with wins in Colorado and Boston, but fell 3-1 to Philadelphia on Thursday. Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom had his shutout streak snapped at a franchise-best 149:09 after Scott Hartnell scored in the second period. Backstrom, whose previous best was 142:57 without allowing a goal, has five shutouts in 2008-09, matching the career high he set two seasons ago as a rookie.
"When you lose you can't be happy. You don't care about the shutouts," said Backstrom, who was named to the Western Conference All-Star team this week. "When you go out there you want to win the game and we lost today and that's the only thing that matters."
In his last four starts against Columbus, Backstrom is 4-0-0 with a 1.23 goals-against average.
Minnesota failed on all eight of its power-play opportunities against the Flyers.
Manny Being Manny
Photos: @ Wild (11-15-08)
Video: @ Wild (11-15-08)
"You can't have (eight) power play and don't barely get a couple of chances to score," Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said. "You can't win games, it's impossible."
If Mason stays hot, the Wild could be in for another frustrating night.
Mason, who shut out three straight opponents from Dec. 27-31, had 45 saves and notched his NHL-leading sixth shutout on Friday night as Columbus (19-18-4) defeated Washington 3-0 to complete a 4-2-0 road trip. The Blue Jackets (19-18-4) won despite the absence of eight regulars including leading scorer Rick Nash, who remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury suffered in Tuesday's 3-0 loss to Detroit. Jared Boll and Fedor Tyutin helped pick up the slack with a goal and an assist apiece.
Columbus' last five victories have come by a combined 16-1 margin.
"It's huge for us," said Mason, who nearly didn't play due to upper-body muscle spasms. "Obviously, with a lot of guys out of the lineup it was a big opportunity for other guys to step up. They did that."
Mason, 20, continues to step up in the absence of teammate Pascal Leclaire, who was placed on injured reserve Thursday with an ankle injury. Mason, whose 1.74 GAA leads the league, will showcase his skills at the NHL YoungStars game on Jan. 24 in Montreal as part of All-Star weekend.
The Wild took the first two meetings of this season series, although both games were played in Minnesota. The Blue Jackets are 9-3-0 with a tie all-time at home versus the Wild, but lost both home matchups with Minnesota in 2007-08.