Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Mason first to throw no-no at Sens this season

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KANATA, Ont. -- It was a term Claude Noel threw out in his post-game media scrum, not long after the Winnipeg Jet head coach was heard referring to netminder Chris Mason as 'a stallion' while slapping the man of the moment on the back.

But this one seems much more fitting:

"He's a battler," said Noel of his veteran goalie. "He gives us what he has and he's well respected by his teammates. He was really good for us."

Yes, in a game thick with storylines, Mason served one of the meatiest by kicking out all 25 of the shots he faced in a 2-0 win over the Ottawa Senators that was critical in helping prevent his squad from flatlining.

"I thought our guys played just a perfect road game tonight," said Mason, quickly kicking out the accolades fired his way. "And that's the kind of game we've been looking for for the last little while so I was really proud of the guys tonight."

It wasn't the busiest night for Mason -- he faced only 11 shots through the first two periods -- but he was solid in the final 20 minutes. Didn't hurt, as well, that the potent Sens clanged a couple off the posts in one shift in the third.

"You don't love hearing it (the clang), but when you see the puck squeeze out the other side it's a good feeling," said Mason. "We've earned those breaks.

"We knew they were going to be coming... 2-0, they were going to throw everything at us. We made them earn every opportunity they've got. They've got a lot of skilled guys, a lot of talented guys, but our guys did a perfect job of boxing out in front of the net and really limiting their chances."

Interestingly, despite all the well-deserved publicity aimed at Ondrej Pavelec, Mason's statistics continue to be superior. He is now 6-3 this season with two shutouts, a goals-against-average of 1.99 and a save percentage of .923.

Told that the game was the first time the Sens had been kept off the scoreboard all season, Mason again tipped his hat to his teammates.

"Shutouts are something the team does together. I get credit for it on my record and I wouldn't have got that if they didn't do the things they did."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 17, 2012 D2

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