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Mason blanks Wings in Jackets' OT win

by Brian Compton

"It feels good to get a win, finally.  It's been a struggle. We've been trying to find our game here for a long period of time. This is definitely a step in the right direction." -- Fredrik Modin

Fredrik Modin and Steve Mason were the two biggest reasons why the Columbus Blue Jackets finally had a reason to smile on Monday night.

Modin scored 3:12 into overtime and Mason stopped all 34 shots he faced as the Jackets ended a nine-game slide with a 1-0 win against the Detroit Red Wings at Nationwide Arena.

''It feels good to get a win, finally,'' Modin said after his team's second win in the last 19 tries. ''It's been a struggle. We've been trying to find our game here for a long period of time. This is definitely a step in the right direction.''

Mason, last season's Rookie of the Year, picked up his second shutout of the campaign. He came in just 10-13-5 with a 3.40 goals-against average. Columbus, though, has scored just nine goals in its last seven games.

''I have to play well in order for us to get wins,'' he said. ''Obviously, I haven't really been doing that a whole lot this year. For myself, this was a good game. But it's a team effort at the same time. What I did tonight is what's expected of me. I need to do it more often.''

After a scoreless regulation, Modin carried the puck into the offensive zone and past defenseman Brett Lebda to flick a shot at Jimmy Howard (39 saves). The Red Wings' goalie denied the initial shot, but Modin followed it and backhanded the rebound past Howard for the game's only goal.
Limited to just eight games this season by a troublesome knee injury, the goal was his first of the season and first since Feb. 10.

''I think we've been feeling it coming along over the last few games that we played,'' Modin said. ''We played a good game in Detroit (a 2-1 loss on Saturday night), as well. We didn't come out on top there but I thought we carried a lot of that with us tonight. It was a tight game (with) chances both ways. Obviously, Steve was phenomenal for us and made some huge saves to keep us in the game.''

Mason was at his best in the second period, when the Blue Jackets killed off a two-man advantage that lasted 43 seconds. Howard also made three big saves while Kirk Maltby was serving a hooking penalty late in the second.

''It was a goaltenders' battle,'' said Howard, who had 39 saves. ''He made two or three great glove saves. It was our first head-to-head battle and it probably won't be our last. He had a hell of a year last year and has been struggling a bit this year, but he is a good goalie and played a good game.''

Lightning 2, Bruins 1 | HIGHLIGHTS

Mike Smith made 31 saves and Kurtis Foster had a pair of assists as Tampa Bay won for the fourth time in five games with a victory against Boston at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Alex Tanguay and Martin St. Louis scored for the Lightning (15-15-9), who outshot the Bruins 24-6 in the second period.

''Can you enjoy it tonight? Yes, but tomorrow you need to get to work,'' Tampa Bay coach Rick Tocchet said. ''We have to learn to be businesslike the next day, the next game. We've won four of five and that's great, but we're still a .500 hockey club.''

Marco Sturm scored for Boston, which saw its three-game winning streak come to an end. Tim Thomas made 37 saves in the loss.

''We were unlucky on a couple of things,'' Sturm said. ''But overall, I think we didn't deserve to win. We just didn't compete hard enough for 60 minutes, and that's what happened.''

Tanguay broke a scoreless tie with 1:01 left in the opening period off a nifty feed from Vincent Lecavalier. It was Tanguay's sixth goal of the season.

St. Louis made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 19:48 of the second. With Vladimir Sobotka in the box for boarding, Foster fired a shot that managed to squeak through Thomas' pads. St. Louis then guided it across the goal line for his eighth goal of the season.

''We just beat a pretty good hockey team,'' Smith said. ''We're fighting right now to get into the playoffs, so every game is big for us, especially in our conference.''

Boston cut the deficit in half when Sturm beat Smith for his 12th goal of the season at 12:30 of the third, but the Bruins failed to notch the equalizer. The Bruins outshot the Lightning 16-8 in the final 20 minutes.

''We played one period and it was almost good enough, but in this League most nights it's not going to be,'' Boston forward Marc Savard said.

Flames 4, Oilers 1 | HIGHLIGHTS

Rene Bourque notched his second career hat trick and Miikka Kiprusoff made 34 saves as Calgary handed Edmonton its seventh straight loss and ended a three-game skid of its own at Rexall Place.

Ryan Potulny scored the lone goal for the Oilers, who are in the midst of their worst stretch since their nine-game skid from Feb. 25-March 15, 2007. Potulny's goal came 2:02 into the game.

Mark Giordano also scored for the Flames, who are 4-0 against their arch rivals this season. Calgary escaped the first period in a 1-1 tie despite being outshot 16-5.

''We should have put some of those in and then the sad thing is we give up a (bad) goal at the end of the period,'' Oilers coach Pat Quinn said. ''It was such a weak goal and it took the steam out of us a little bit.

''Until we have the mental strength to fight through something like that, that is what is going to happen. We're going to have to find a way to turn the corner and not give up the easy stuff.''

Bourque erased a 1-0 deficit with 1:02 left in the first, then gave the Flames a lead they wouldn't relinquish when he scored on the power play 9:22 into the second, when he poked Olli Jokinen's rebound past Jeff Deslauriers (19 saves). Jokinen picked up his 300th career assist in the victory.

''It seems to be a good team for me to play against,'' said Bourque, who has 10 points in four games against Edmonton this season. ''I had a lot of family and friends here for this game and it is always nice to be able to perform like that with them around to watch it.''

Bourque completed the hat trick with a shorthanded tally at 5:37 into the third. After Jokinen was whistled for hooking, Bourque put Daymond Langkow's rebound past Deslauriers to make it 3-1. Giordano increased Calgary's lead when he beat Deslauriers with a wrister at 7:06.

''We were pretty bad at home our last game and we knew we needed to win this game,'' Flames defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said. ''We allowed a lot of shots early, but we settled down and played a lot better after that.''

Wild 4, Kings 3 | HIGHLIGHTS

Eric Belanger had two goals and an assist, including the game-winner with 2:25 remaining in the third period, as Minnesota won its third straight and its franchise-tying 10th win of the month at Los Angeles.

Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson and Scott Parse scored for the Kings, who rallied from a 3-1 deficit but failed to avoid their third straight loss. Niklas Backstrom made 29 saves for the Wild.

"They came hard … it's a good team," Backstrom said. "It's not just us. They played a really good third period. But we really believe in what we're doing and we know we can beat some good hockey teams."

After a scoreless first period, Martin Havlat got Minnesota on the scoreboard when he beat Jonathan Quick (19 saves) 4:23 into the second. Doughty tied the game when he poked a rebound past Backstrom just over seven minutes later.

But the Wild responded with a pair of goals late in the second. Kim Johnsson scored on the power play off a nifty feed from Andrew Brunette with five minutes remaining to give Minnesota the lead, and Belanger made it 3-1 at 18:58 when he took a pass from Owen Nolan and beat Quick for his seventh goal of the season.

Los Angeles stormed back in the third, as Johnson scored on the power play at 2:28 when he one-timed Doughty's feed past Backstrom to make it 3-2. Parse tied the game with 2:37 remaining, only to see Belanger restore Minnesota's lead 12 seconds later when his slap shot from the right circle beat Quick.

"What a big goal by Belanger after they scored … they got all the momentum, and that goal went in and put everyone right back in their seats," Wild coach Todd Richards said.

''It's unbelievable how quick that happened,'' Doughty said. ''Mentally, we had all the power there. We felt like, if we took it to overtime, we were going to win that game. Then they got that heartbreaker 12 seconds later. That can't be happening if we want to win games.''

Material from wire services and broadcast media was used in this report.

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