It’s official: Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason is broken beyond repair, at least at the NHL level. He needs a lengthy rehabilitative stint in the AHL to relocate his game.
During the last two seasons his goals-against average soared from 2.29 to 3.05 and 3.03. He was 24-21-7 with a .901 save percentage last year. This year has gotten even worse; his GAA is 3.36 and his save percentage is .880.
Mason allowed four goals on just 11 Maple Leaf shots Thursday night and departed 5:31 into the second period.
Toronto’s 4-1 victory – with somebody named Ben Scrivens in goal -- left the Blue Jackets with a 2-10-1 record. Afterward, Columbus coach Scott Arniel put the blame squarely on Mason.
“Their goaltender was better than our goaltender, plain and simple,” Arniel told reporters. “Their guy made a lot of big saves. One end (of the ice) was good and one end wasn’t. That’s the end of that story.”
Let’s review the carnage, as dutifully reported by the Columbus Dispatch:
- Mason allowed a goal on the Maple Leafs’ first shot of the game, at 6:09 of the first period. This was the ninth time in 12 games he has allowed a goal on one of the first four shots he saw.
- He somehow missed a 40-foot wrist shot by Clark McArthur with 14.4 seconds left in the first period. The resulting 2-0 deficit had to feel like a 10-goal margin heading into the break.
- Just 50 seconds into the second period Leafs defenseman John-Michael Liles beat him with a wrister from the left dot to make it 3-0. The Dispatch noted that fans cheered derisively at Mason’s each touch of the puck from this point on.
- McArthur’s second goal, scored less than 5 minutes later, finally chased Mason. Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson cheerfully accepted the charity.
“We scored awful easy,” Wilson told reporters. “The other kid had a tough night.”
The Blue Jackets will be on the prowl for help in goal and elsewhere. Stay tuned for developments on that front.