Blue Jackets Tame the Sharks

After months of inconsistent play, the Columbus Blue Jackets seem to be getting on the pace they hoped for by winning their third straight game in a row last night against the San Jose Sharks. Blue Jackets starting goaltender Steve Mason helped make 40 saves to shut out the Sharks 3-0.

With goals by Rick Nash, Antoine Vermette and Jakub Voracek, the Blue Jackets had all the scoring they needed to take down the Sharks. The Blue Jackets put pucks in the net but many of the players praised Mason’s performance in goal and cited that as a main reason for the victory.

With his fourth shutout of the season, Mason has increased the franchise record for most shutouts to 14 and has stopped the last 90 of 91 shots he has faced. Defense was a troubled area for the Blue Jackets under former head coach Ken Hitchcock but Mason’s performances in the past three games have helped the team rebound from tough times. The Blue Jackets have had difficulty sustaining leads and Mason can be a terrific NHL goaltender when his game is on.

In the past three games, the Blue Jackets have played more relaxed and it could be as a result of the coaching change. The players seem to be more comfortable with interim head coach Claude Noel and seemed to be improving their performance on the ice. The playoffs aren’t necessarily out of reach at this point and could be a late season goal for the Blue Jackets to achieve.

Even though it has only been three games, Claude Noel has a decent shot at having the interim title removed by the end of the season. Noel has taken over a team that seemed to have reached its lowest point a couple weeks ago and could be on the upswing. A lot of NHL teams have had success hiring within for a head coach and Noel understands well how to develop players and understands what he is working with.

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~ by jeffrsabo on February 11, 2010.

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