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Mason's eighth shutout comes easy as Blue Jackets blank Oilers 1-0

NHL.com @NHL

EDMONTON - Steve Mason faced just 19 in his eighth shutout of the season and the Columbus Blue Jackets ended a two-game losing skid, defeating the Edmonton Oilers 1-0 in a key Western Conference clash Thursday night.

Former Oiler Raffi Torres scored the lone goal of the game for the Blue Jackets (31-25-6), who moved with Vancouver for fifth in the West. The Oilers (30-26-5) remained in a four-way logjam for seventh with Dallas, Anaheim and Minnesota with 65 points apiece.

There was no scoring in a relatively uneventful first period with both Oilers goaltender Dwayne Roloson and Mason called upon to make seven saves apiece.

Columbus was the vastly better team in the second period, with Roloson needing to be on his game as the blue Jackets outshot the Oilers 17-5. The best opportunity in the second may have belonged to the Oilers, however, when Erik Cole swung around for a quick shot in tight during a scramble with five minutes to go. Mason came across to make the pad save.

Columbus almost scored the first goal of the game four minutes into the third period when Rick Nash's shot clanged off the post and travelled across the Oilers goal-line before defenceman Tom Gilbert fished it out of harm's way.

The Blue Jackets finally broke the deadlock eight minutes in as Jared Boll sprung Torres with a long pass and the former Oiler came back to haunt his old club, streaming in on the breakaway and sliding the puck through Roloson's legs.

Columbus outshot Edmonton 32-19 overall.

Edmonton hosts the Minnesota Wild on Saturday while the Blue Jackets return to action on Sunday in Vancouver.

Notes: Oilers forward Fernando Pisani played for the first time since suffering a broken ankle on Nov. 17. Prior to the injury he had two goals and four assists in 16 games Another injured Oiler could be back much sooner than expected. Defenceman Denis Grebeshkov, originally thought to be out until late March with a sprained ankle, is back skating with the team and could return as early as Saturday Columbus centre Chris Gratton made his Blue Jackets debut after being claimed on waivers from Tampa Bay on Saturday The Jackets mixed up their lines against the Oilers with Jason Williams and rookie Jake Voracek skating on the top line with Rick Nash and Kristian Huselius with Manny Malhotra and R.J. Umberger on the second line It was Oilers forward Ales Hemsky's 400th NHL game.

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