Mason shuts down Devils in shootout for Predators win

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- When it comes to shootouts, Chris
Mason of the Nashville Predators is perfect.

Mason stopped all three New Jersey attempts in the shootout and
Martin Erat scored the only goal to lead the Nashville Predators to
a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.

"I've only been involved in three shootouts, two last year, and
I haven't allowed a goal in yet," Mason said after leading the
Predators to their fourth straight win. "I haven't had that many.
It's a good thing to have, but eventually the time will come where
it will end."

Mason now has stopped eight consecutive shots in the shootouts,
and his three on Thursday helped Nashville win a game in which it
blew a two-goal lead in the final 2:07 of regulation. The Predators
completed a sweep of the New York-metropolitan area teams this

"Chris was great for us," Paul Kariya said. "He made huge
saves for us. I feel bad we didn't bear down at the end. It should
have been locked down."

Kariya set up first-period power-play goals by Jason Arnott and
Erat and Scott Nichol tallied short-handed in the second for
Nashville, which had eight shots on goals over the final two
periods and the overtime.

Brian Gionta scored twice, including the tying goal with 11.6
seconds to go in regulation. Scott Gomez had the other goal for the

Mason finished with 30 saves filling in for Tomas Vokoun. He
stopped Zach Parise, Gionta and Patrik Elias in the shootout.

"I got a little fortunate, the one by Parise hit the outside of
the post," Mason said. "I was just seeing it tonight."

Erat scored on the Predators' third attempt, snapping a shot
over the glove of Scott Clemmensen, who had 15 saves in his first
start of the year.

"He was so far back in the net I needed to shoot it there, up
high," Erat said.

"It was a great shot, what can I say," Clemmensen said.

The Devils, who rallied from a three-goal third-period deficit
at home earlier this season to beat Toronto 7-6 in a shootout,
staged another comeback against the Predators, who beat the
Islanders on Monday and the Rangers on Wednesday.

Gomez started the rally by lifting the rebound of a Gionta shot
over Mason's shoulder.

Gionta, who had all three third-period goals in the win over
Toronto, scored his sixth of the season and second of the game from
the right faceoff circle in the closing seconds.

"We'd like to avoid being in the position where we have to do
that," Clemmensen said, "but it's comforting to know if we do get
in that situation, we don't give up and we have a chance because we
have done it before."

Kariya's assists were sandwiched around Gionta's first goal.

Arnott was the first beneficiary of Kariya's passing, converting
from right in front at 2:10 on the first shot that Clemmensen faced
this season.

Mason also was beaten on the Devils' first shot, a power-play
goal by Gionta after nice passes by Gomez and Elias.

Erat gave the Predators a 2-1 lead after taking a Kariya pass
and scoring from between the circles on a shot that seemed to hit
off Devils defenseman Paul Martin.

Game notes
Devils rookie C Travis Zajac missed the third period
because of soreness. ... RW Steve Sullivan, who was leading the
Predators with seven points, sat out with back spasms. ... The
Devils scored on their first power play, ending a streak of 11
straight kills by the Predators. ... Kimmo Timonen had an assist in
his 500th game with Nashville. ... This was the only regular-season
game between the teams this season.