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Mason puts opening-night loss behind him

by Ryan Dittrick @ryandittrick /

Winnipeg's newest netminder had just made a gargantuan save off Patrick Marleau to keep the contest even after William Nylander and the visiting Maple Leafs turned back on a 2-on-1 break.

The hometown crowd of more than 15,000 erupted in cheers and The Heavy's 'How You Like Me Now?' blared over the speakers, all to the beat of his 19 teammates banging the boards in a show of appreciation.

Video: TOR@WPG: Mason gets across to deny Marleau

Then, less than 10 minutes later and on Toronto's third shot of the new season, Nazem Kadri found a loose puck at the side of the net and buried the icebreaker on the power play, mere seconds after Mason made two big saves on James van Riemsdyk.

Three of the Leafs' next 10 shots found the twine, too, and the rout was on despite the Jets heavily outshooting their Canadian counterparts in the opening 30 minutes.

"It definitely wasn't what we were looking for. It just wasn't good enough," Jets goalie Steve Mason said.

"At the end of the day, it's my job to be sharper than that. … It just wasn't a good game for myself."

Marleau scored his second of the night just 36 seconds into the third period, and Mason's night came to an early end after allowing five goals on 20 goals.

Head Coach Paul Maurice wasn't pinning any of them on his goaltender, saying his debut was no rougher than anyone else's in a 7-2 final.  

"He's going to have a couple he'd like to have back, but there wasn't anything you're looking at saying, 'My God, how did he miss that?'" Maurice said. "The first goal, he got bowled over by our own guy; he's got no chance on that. The next one was a real quick little deflection, and he's not going to do anything with the third one."

Patrik Laine, who had an assist on Mark Scheifele's first of the season, was disappointed in how the team left Mason to fend for himself.

"It's frustrating because we practiced our defensive play so much during training camp, and then in the first regular-season game the opponent scores seven goals. It wasn't the ideal start, but we'll just try to move forward."

As for Mason, he has full confidence in his ability to bounce back.

He'll look for redemption when the Jets begin a three-game road trip on Saturday in Calgary.

"It's a bad game. It happens. It sucks when it does happen, but you put it behind you and get out of it."

- Ryan Dittrick,

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