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Jackets keep rolling with win over Preds

Monday, 11.22.2010 / 11:44 PM / Roundup

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Jackets keep rolling with win over Preds
Steve Mason made 27 saves for his first shutout of the season and 16th of his career, and Rick Nash had a second-period goal and the Blue Jackets earned their fourth straight win.
Home, away … the Columbus Blue Jackets are winning everywhere these days.

Steve Mason made 27 saves for his first shutout of the season and 16th of his career, and Rick Nash had a second-period goal and the Blue Jackets earned their fourth straight win with a 2-0 victory against the Nashville Predators at Nationwide Arena on Monday night.

"Obviously a shutout is a total team effort and tonight, much like we have had in our past couple of games, the defensemen have been great -- a lot of big blocked shots -- and they are really making both goaltenders jobs easier," Mason said.

Mike Commodore also scored for Columbus (13-6-0), off to the best start in franchise history and playing its first game since a record-setting road trip that saw the Jackets win in Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Jose.

Nash tied the franchise record with points in nine straight games on a second-period one-timer past Pekka Rinne, who finished with 28 saves. On Saturday, Nash scored all three goals in the Blue Jackets' shutout and first regulation win at HP Pavilion. He also has goals in six straight games, one shy of the franchise record.

Mason, the League's Calder Trophy winner and shutouts leader two seasons ago, was steady all night, especially down the stretch. He calmly covered the puck on a late Nashville power play and handled Kevin Klein's shot with eight seconds remaining.

"Once they got that first goal they had a lot of people back and you have to get pucks behind them and then they have to retrieve them and then they have to make something happen," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "And they didn't allow that, they played really well. They are on top of their game right now."

Maple Leafs 4, Stars 1 | GAME HIGHLIGHTS

Nikolai Kulemin scored twice and Jonas Gustavsson made 21 saves as Toronto skated past Dallas at the Air Canada Centre.

Tyler Bozak and Kris Versteeg had the other goals for the Maple Leafs (8-9-3). Brad Richards scored the lone goal for Dallas, which fell to 10-8-1.

Gustavsson continued his strong play in relief of Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who has missed three games with a minor groin injury. The Leafs backup has stopped 87 of 91 shots during that stretch.

"The more I play, the more experienced I get," Gustavsson said. "I feel in great shape right now and that's positive."

Toronto grabbed a 1-0 lead when Luke Schenn's point shot was tipped by both Mikhail Grabovski and Kulemin, leaving Kari Lehtonen with little hope of stopping the puck at 10:52 of the first period.

That wasn't the case on Kulemin's second goal. The Stars' goaltender let out a rebound before Kulemin connected on his second chance at 14:05 of the second period.

Richards made it 2-1 just 86 seconds later, when he one-timed a shot past Gustavsson after Steve Ott made a nice play to carry the puck around the net and found him with a backhand pass.

Toronto restored its two-goal lead before the intermission when Nazem Kadri picked up his fourth assist in five games this season. The Leafs rookie found Bozak, who beat Lehtonen high at 17:07 of the second period.

"It wasn't pretty tonight," Richards said. "They pressured us and we didn't handle it very well. We weren't really in the game."

Lightning 3, Bruins 1 | GAME HIGHLIGHTS

Steven Stamkos scored his NHL-leading 20th goal of the season to help Tampa Bay skate past Boston at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Stamkos, who has a point in 18 of 21 games, had one of three Tampa Bay goals during the second period that made it 3-0. The center has 10 goals and 16 points over his past nine games. He's also reached 20 goals during a season faster (21 games) than any other Lightning player. Chris Kontos held the old mark, reaching 20 goals in the 27th game of the 1992-93 season.

Dana Tyrell and Teddy Purcell also scored for the Lightning, who have won four in a row.

"We played solid … we got the three-goal lead," Stamkos said. "We need to find a way to keep pressuring them in the third, play with a lead. We kind of let up a bit, but it was a great game for us, and we have to keep it going."

Boston, which has back-to-back games after winning three straight, got a goal from Michael Ryder. The Bruins (7-2) have dropped just two of nine road games this season.

"We weren't making very good decisions, turning the puck over, not getting pucks in deep," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We have to start playing a little more desperate from the get-go."

Tampa Bay went up 2-0 early in the second when Tyrell (3:26) and Stamkos (5:15) scored 1:49 apart. Stamkos was positioned in the low slot and redirected Martin St. Louis' backhand pass from the left circle past Boston goalie Tuukka Rask.

Purcell extended the Lightning lead to 3-0 with a rebound goal with 8:24 left in the second. The Bruins entered allowing just 1.8 goals per game.

Ryder ended Tampa Bay goalie Mike Smith's shutout bid with his 150th NHL goal at 10:30 of the third.

Devils 5, Capitals 0 | GAME HIGHLIGHTS

Johan Hedberg made 30 saves for his 15th career shutout as New Jersey blew past Washington at the Prudential Center.

To read NHL.com's full recap, click here.

Material from wire services was used in this report.

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