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Mason stays perfect as Blue Jackets beat Canadiens in shootout

NHL.com @NHL

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Kristian Huselius and Derick Brassard scored in the shootout, rookie goalie Steve Mason stayed perfect by stopping both shots he faced in the tiebreaker and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 on Friday night.

It was the first loss for the Canadiens in Ohio since a 2-1 setback against the Cleveland Barons on Nov. 23, 1977. The Habs had beaten the Blue Jackets in their only two previous trips.

Montreal's Sergei Kostitsyn scored on a pass from his brother Andrei to tie it with 40.9 seconds left in regulation.

Huselius went first in the shootout and beat Jaroslav Halak with a wrister. After Mason, who is 2-0 in his only two NHL starts, stopped Alex Tanguay, Brassard danced with the puck and deked Halak before scoring.

Mason, recalled Nov. 4 as insurance when starter Pascal Leclaire was sidelined with an ankle injury, then blocked a shot by Andrei Kostitsyn, touching off a wild celebration from a crowd of 14,603.

Montreal nemesis R.J. Umberger, Marc Methot and Fredrik Modin scored goals for Columbus - the latter two coming 34 seconds apart in the third period for a 3-2 lead. Jan Hejda and Rick Nash each had two assists for the Blue Jackets, who have scored points in their last five games.

Alex Tanguay and Patrice Brisebois had power-play goals for the Canadiens, who lost for the first time on the road. Tomas Plekanec chipped in with two assists. Montreal had won its last four road games and last three overall.

Umberger, who must pop up in the Canadiens' nightmares, opened the scoring.

Jason Chimera's shot was stopped by Halak, but the rebound came back to Umberger, who netted it for his fifth goal in a four-game goal streak. Acquired in an off-season trade, he did not have a goal in his first nine games with the Blue Jackets before making up for lost time with five goals and an assist over the last four games.

It was Umberger who lit up the Habs in the Eastern Conference semifinals a year ago while playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. Umberger had eight goals and an assist, a plus-6 rating and put 20 shots on goal in the Flyers' five-game victory.

Mason (2-0), who finished with 34 saves, made two big stops on Tom Kostopolous, one on a kick save and the other with his glove, before the Canadiens scored just 11 seconds into a power play.

Robert Lang's shot from the top of the right circle was blocked by Mason, but Christopher Higgins collected the puck and kept it alive in the crease, with Mason kicking it out. Tanguay was there to clean up with a hard shot from point-blank range at the left doorstep.

After a scoreless second period, the Canadiens took a 2-1 lead early in the third on Brisebois' blast through traffic from the right point.

Seconds after a giveaway that almost resulted in a Montreal goal, Methot potted the tying goal, taking a cross-ice pass from Nash and rocketing a hard shot inside the near post.

Before that goal could be announced, Modin took a backdoor pass from Fedor Tyutin and jammed it in for a 3-2 lead.

The Blue Jackets killed three penalties before Sergei Kostitsyn tied it once again in the final minute, setting up the dramatic finish.

Notes: The Blue Jackets placed LW Alexandre Picard, a former first-round draft pick, on waivers on Thursday. ... Halak, who had 25 saves, got the start in goal for Montreal so the Canadiens could save Carey Price for a showdown in Toronto on Saturday night. ... Nash, Huselius and Tyutin all extended their points streaks to four games, while Modin has a three-game points streak. ... Columbus' Jake Voracek had a goal disallowed in the first period for using a high stick.

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