Flames blanked again - Metro US

Flames blanked again

The Skinny: For the second night in a row, the Flames ran into a hot goalie. This time, Columbus rookie netminder Steve Mason stopped all 33 shots he faced to record his league-leading 10th shutout of the season as the Flames failed to bulge the twine in a pair of futile efforts.

The Big Save: Mason gained confidence early in the game by thwarting a great scoring opportunity by Calgary forward Eric Nystrom, who drove hard to the net but couldn’t find a way to shovel the puck past the big goalie.

The snipers: Jason Williams scored twice for Columbus, while Manny Malhotra, Raffi Torres and R.J. Umberger added singles. For Umberger, it was his fourth goal in his past four games against Calgary.

The set-up men: After recording just one point in three previous games against the Flames this season, Columbus captain Rick Nash set up four goals. Former Flame Kristian Huselius also had four assists.

The quote: “It’s a big game for us,” Huselius told Rogers Sportsnet. “We’re still battling for a playoff spot and Calgary’s a tough opponent.”

The back-up: Curtis McElhinney saw some rare action in between the pipes for Calgary as he came off the bench in the second period to relieve starter Miikka Kiprusoff, who turned aside 14 of 17 shots he faced. McElhinney made 17 saves in his relief appearance.

The key stat: The Flames now have a 2-8-1 record in the second game of back-to-back contests, all on the road. The Flames still have three more back-to-back affairs in their final eight games of the campaign.

The next game: The Flames now return home where they’ll be looking to get back on the winning track against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night (8 p.m., CBC, Fan 960) at the Saddledome.

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