Steve Mason opened the season with Syracuse in the American Hockey League. The way he's playing now, he'll finish it in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The 20-year-old goalie stopped 18 shots Friday night for his NHL-leading seventh shutout of the season, making fellow rookie Jake Voracek's second-period goal stand up in the Columbus Blue Jackets' 1-0 home victory over Ottawa.
The only current team to never make the playoffs, Columbus moved into a tie for fifth place with Edmonton, Phoenix and Anaheim in the Western Conference - two points ahead of Minnesota, Vancouver and Dallas - in the scramble for the eight playoff spots.
"The most important thing for myself is getting us in a playoff position," Mason said. "Obviously, we just want to keep moving forward with it. Shutouts are nice to get on a personal note, but they don't really mean anything in the end."
In other NHL games Friday night, it was: New Jersey 4, Pittsburgh 3 in overtime; Philadelphia 6, Tampa Bay 1; Calgary 3, Nashville 1; and Edmonton 3, Minnesota 1.
Mason is 19-11-2 with an NHL-best 1.98 goals-against average.
"Steve Mason had an outstanding game," said Voracek, who redirected Micael Peca's shot at 3:55 of the second period. "He made a couple of big saves in the third period."
The Blue Jackets had a scare with just under 6 minutes left when Mason winced in pain after taking Alexandre Picard's hard shot off his right knee.
"It just kind of completely skipped a pad and went on my knee," said Mason, who started the season with Syracuse after having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in September. "It didn't feel too good. My pads are pretty crappy right now. I'll be getting some new ones pretty soon, hopefully."
Mason has started 16 straight games.
"He's OK," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. "What are you going to say? He's a hockey player. You accept the fact that you have a hammer."
At Newark, N.J., Jamie Langenbrunner tied it with 31 seconds left in regulation, then scored late in overtime to give New Jersey its season-high eighth straight win.
Langenbrunner has three straight winning goals, including an overtime goal Thursday night in Boston. He has six goals in his last three games and 14 overall.
Bobby Holik and Brendan Shanahan also scored. Sidney Crosby, Maxime Talbot and Evgeni Malkin scored for Pittsburgh, up 3-1 with 11:25 to go in the third.
At Tampa, Fla., Jeff Carter scored twice in a third period to take the NHL goal lead, and Mike Richards had two goals and an assist for Philadelphia.
With his 31st and 32nd goals, Carter moved one ahead of Washington's Alex Ovechkin for the NHL lead. Randy Jones and Scott Hartnell also scored to help Philadelphia win for the third time in four games. Vinny Prospal scored for Tampa Bay.
At Calgary, Alberta, Miikka Kiprusoff made 28 saves for his NHL-leading 30th victory, and Andre Roy, Adrian Aucoin and Matthew Lombardi scored for Calgary.
At 30-14-4, the Flames have an 11-point lead in the Northwest Division and are five points behind second-place Detroit in the Western Conference.
J.P. Dumont scored for Nashville.
At Edmonton, Alberta, Dwayne Roloson made 29 saves, and Ales Hemsky, Ethan Moreau and Lubomir Visnovsky scored for Edmonton.
Edmonton rebounded from a 10-2 loss to Buffalo on Tuesday night with its sixth victory in eight games. James Sheppard scored for Minnesota.