Toronto (7-12-7) at Columbus (13-9-5)

Cloudy Currently: Columbus, OH
Temp: 80° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Thu Dec 3, 2009
  • TV: LTV, FSOH
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason(notes) has come up empty in shootouts this season, costing his club valuable points. The Toronto Maple Leafs know all about what it’s like to fall short once a game goes past regulation.

The Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs will meet for the only time in 2009-10 when Toronto makes its third visit to Nationwide Arena on Thursday night.

Columbus (13-9-5) lost 4-3 at Chicago on Wednesday in a shootout that took 11 rounds. Though he allowed only two goals in the tiebreaker, the reigning Calder Trophy winner fell to 0-5 in shootouts this season.

“You’re just hoping your guys score. Then you just try to do your job in order to make the next save,” Mason said. “After that, you’re just hoping that the next one goes in, but obviously give (Cristobal) Huet some credit. He made that one last stop that he needed.”

Backup Mathieu Garon(notes) has won both his shootouts this season, and 18 of 22 in his career. Garon set an NHL record by winning all 10 shootouts with Edmonton in 2007-08.

Mason, though, is expected to start Thursday, and won his lone start against Toronto (7-12-7) on Feb. 19 by stopping two of three shooters in a 4-3 road victory. The Blue Jackets, who have lost six of seven, are hoping his luck will change.

“When you get past six shooters as a coach you’re really not paying attention to their records because you don’t expect to go past six rounds,” coach Ken Hitchcock said. “After six or seven guys, guys on the bench are looking at you saying, ‘I can do this.’”

The last-place Maple Leafs are 1-7 in games that have gone past regulation, losing two of three shootouts.

Toronto expects to start Joey MacDonald(notes) in goal after he replaced rookie Jonas Gustavsson(notes), who left after one period of Tuesday’s 3-0 win at Montreal. Gustavsson was taken to the hospital as a precaution with an elevated heart rate.

“We’re just being ultra-cautious,” said general manager Brian Burke, who indicated Gustavsson was fine.

MacDonald finished with 18 saves and Matt Stajan(notes), Colton Orr(notes) and Jeff Finger(notes) scored as Toronto bounced back from a 3-0 loss at Buffalo the night before.

“It’s nice to get a shutout, to have two goalies involved, (they) played great,” Stajan said. “A full team effort on back-to-back nights. It was a good feeling after (Monday’s) tough loss.”

Columbus star Rick Nash(notes) will try to snap out a slump. Nash has three points in his last seven games after getting 25 in his first 20.

The Brampton, Ontario native was the subject of rumors he would join the Maple Leafs before staying with the team that drafted him first overall in 2002 by inking an eight-year deal worth $62.4 million on July 3. Nash has two goals and one assist in five games against Toronto, and scored the shootout winner in last season’s matchup.

Columbus is 2-4-1 against Toronto, which last visited Ohio for a 4-2 victory Oct. 20, 2006.

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Thursday, Dec 3