Blue Jackets-Thrashers Preview
Mathieu Garon has played well each time he's been in net for the Columbus Blue Jackets this season.
The veteran is expected to get his second straight start Thursday night when the visiting Blue Jackets try to defeat the Atlanta Thrashers for the fifth consecutive time.
Garon stopped 29 shots Tuesday for his 17th career shutout, a 3-0 win over Montreal. Garon, who started the season backing up Steve Mason, is 3-0-0 with a 1.15 goals-against average. Mason has been much less successful, going 4-4-0 with a 3.30 GAA.
"I've been maybe a little lucky,'' the 32-year-old Garon said. "When I've played, we haven't played a bad game this season."
Garon, who has yet to start consecutive games in 2010-11, is 4-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA against Atlanta. He made 28 saves in a 2-1 home win over the Thrashers in the teams' last meeting March 11.
"Matty deserves opportunities to play,'' first-year Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel said. "He's been good from training camp all the way through. I have a lot of confidence in both goaltenders. We have 1-A and 1-B.''
Arniel has reason for confidence in his team as a whole.
Rick Nash and Derick Brassard each scored while linemate Jakub Voracek added two assists Tuesday as the Blue Jackets (7-4-0) won for the fourth time in five games.
"Each game we're getting better and better,'' said Nash, who has a goal and two assists in his last four contests.
Brassard, a disappointment with nine goals and 27 assists in 79 games last season, has four goals in five games.
Nash has two goals and two assists in six career meetings with Atlanta, which has not beaten Columbus since Dec. 9, 2005. Columbus has outscored the Thrashers 10-4 during its four-game winning streak in the series.
Atlanta (6-4-2) heads home after rallying for a 4-3 win at Florida on Wednesday. Fredrik Modin had two goals and Dustin Byfuglien added a goal with an assist as the Thrashers scored twice in the third period.
Modin, who spent 3 1/2 seasons with Columbus before getting traded to Los Angeles this past March, hadn't scored since Atlanta's opening-night win over Washington on Oct. 8.
Byfuglien has three goals and three assists in his last four games. He has six career goals versus Columbus, but has been held without a point in his last four matchups with the Blue Jackets.
Niclas Bergfors scored the game-winner against Florida - his fourth goal in as many games.
"I don't know what to say about it other than just work hard and do the small details," Bergfors said. "Usually, you get a little lucky when you do that."
Chris Mason, who made 52 saves Wednesday to record his third straight victory, is 16-4-2 with a 2.05 GAA against Columbus.
Mason's teammate Ondrej Pavelec is 0-2 with a 2.54 GAA against the Blue Jackets. He stopped 32 shots in a 4-3 shootout loss at St. Louis on Saturday - his first action since fainting and sustaining a concussion early in the Thrashers' season opener.