It got so bad that the Toronto Maple Leafs almost felt sorry for Steve Mason.
Clarke MacArthur scored twice in his 300th career game, providing all the offence needed to make Ben Scrivens a winner in his NHL debut, and the Maple Leafs beat Mason and the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Thursday night.
"We scored awful easy," Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson said of Mason, lit up for all four goals on just 11 shots. "The other kid had a tough night."
Mason was met with derisive cheers on several stops. Finally, he was replaced before the game was even half over.
Even Scrivens, while thrilled to win his first career game, expressed sympathy for his Columbus counterpart.
"Everyone has those games where you're just fighting it for whatever reason," Scrivens said. "He's a Calder Trophy winner. He's a good goalie. He's proven himself in this league. I'm just happy I was able to get a win."
Tops in the league
Toronto now holds the top spot in the NHL.
The Pittsburgh Penguins gained a point in a shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks later on Thursday night and have the same amount of points as the Leafs (19), but Toronto has played one less game than Pittsburgh.
In the West, the Edmonton Oilers shut out the Los Angeles Kings to sit atop the Conference standings, and are one point back of the buds with 18.
Toronto is back in action on Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada, hosting Boston (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET).
— CBC Sports
Joey Crabb and John-Michael Liles also scored for the fast-starting Maple Leafs. Joffrey Lupul added two assists.
Scrivens stopped 38 shots, including a few early that allowed Toronto to build a 4-0 lead despite playing its second game in two nights.
Wilson didn't tell him he was starting until arriving at the rink for the morning skate.
"When I came down here this morning, I told him," said Wilson, whose club is off to a 9-3-1 start. "I told the Monster [Jonas Gustavsson] that Ben was going to play [and that] he'd be the backup. I said, 'Don't say anything. We don't need this [media] circus bothering the young kid. He's just got to concentrate on his first game.' And he played a great game."
Recalled from the Marlies
Scrivens has played 38 minor league games with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League since spending four seasons at Cornell. He was recalled from the Marlies on Oct. 27 to back up Gustavsson while James Reimer recovers from an undisclosed injury.
"Anytime you play your first game you want to make a good impression. Hopefully I did that," the 25-year-old said. "You can't do that without a good team playing in front of you. The guys did a good job of blocking some shots out there."
The Blue Jackets outshot Toronto 39-18 but were never in it.
Scrivens was at his best in the opening period, preserving a 1-0 lead by stopping Kris Russell with a blocker save at the doorstep and also stoning Rick Nash from in close.
The Blue Jackets outshot the Maple Leafs 11-4 in the opening period, yet trailed 2-0.
The Maple Leafs got on the board on their first shot. Crabb was all alone in the high slot when Lupul found him with a nice backhand feed that Crabb fired past Mason glove side for his second goal in two games this season.
During the delay after the goal, Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel called his team to the bench and gestured angrily while making a point.
Late in the period, MacArthur carried the puck into the zone and his hard shot from the top of the left circle eluded Mason below his blocker, touching off a cascade of boos.
"I just put it to the net and sometimes you're going to get one of those, once in a while," MacArthur said. "You feel bad for the goalie, almost."
Toronto then scored in the opening minute of the second period when Liles' shot from the left dot, with Kessel providing traffic in front, slipped past Mason. Shortly after, McArthur added his sixth in the last five games when his shot on a 2-on-1 spelled the end of the night for the beleaguered Mason.
"Their goaltender was better than our goaltender," Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel said. "Plain and simple. Their guy made a lot of big saves. One end was good and one end wasn't. That's the end of that story."
Ryan Johansen, a rookie the Blue Jackets elected to keep on the roster this week despite triggering his 10-game entry-level contract, scored his third to prevent the shutout.