Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason has at times appeared at least as fragile as — if not more than — his harried teammates during a season that slipped away in October and kept on slipping.

Mason lost his grip completely this month, when he suffered a cut left pinkie that prevented him from holding his stick well enough to play.

The injury came at a most inopportune time.

Mason, made over with new and larger equipment and some newfound confidence, was playing his best hockey of the season and had tied a career high with four consecutive wins.