Philadelphia Flyers' Steve Mason catches a shot during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
PHILADELPHIA — Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 37 shots for his fourth shutout of the season, leading the Columbus Blue Jackets to their first win in Philadelphia, 2-0 over the Flyers on Thursday night.
James Wisniewski and Brandon Dubinsky each scored goals for the Blue Jackets, who were 0-5-1 in Philadelphia since the franchise’s inception in 2000.
Led by Bobrovsky, a former Flyer, the Blue Jackets moved closer to clinching their second-ever playoff berth. They closed within two points of the Flyers for third place in the Metropolitan Divison.
The Flyers have lost three straight games and were shut out for the second straight time.
Wisniewski snapped a scoreless tie with his seventh goal of the season late in the second period. He finished off a Columbus attack that saw at least three shots on Steve Mason before he was able to slide in the puck with 6 seconds left on the power play.
Dubinsky appeared to kick in the puck early in the third to make it 2-0.
The Blue Jackets are about as automatic as it gets in the NHL with a lead after two periods: They improved to 27-2-4 with a two-period lead.
The interesting matchup was the one between the pipes: Mason vs. Bobrovsky.
Mason had it all figured out in Columbus when he went 33-20-7 with 10 shutouts and won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 2008-09, the only season the Blue Jackets have made the playoffs.
But Mason and Columbus could never recapture that fleeting success again. He fell to 20 wins and five shutouts the next season, and bottomed out in 2011-12 with a 16-26-3 mark. Mason lost his job to Bobrovsky, the former Flyer who blossomed into last season’s Vezina Trophy winner.
Mason was traded to the Flyers at the end of last season and became the No. 1 goalie after they bought out Ilya Bryzgalov’s contract.
Bobrovsky was expendable because Bryzgalov signed a nine-year deal and was supposed to anchor the net as Philadelphia chased its first Stanley Cup championship since 1975. Bryzgalov’s quirky personality and sometimes brutal honesty with the media didn’t always endear him to teammates and he lasted only two seasons.
Mason and Bobrovsky are now leading playoff pushes for both organizations.
NOTES: Flyers D Kimmo Timonen (upper body) returned to the lineup after a one-game absence. ... Bobrovsky has eight career shutouts. ... The Blue Jackets are 3-1 vs. the Flyers this season. ... The Blue Jackets and Flyers have played each other only 15 times.