Don't look now, but the Blue Jackets are officially hot. After a 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, the club is now 5-0-2 in its past seven games.
The Blue Jackets were propelled by a Cam Atkinson hat trick, but don't forget about Sergei Bobrovsky, who had another dominating performance in net with 30 saves.
The Metropolitan Division-leading Blue Jackets will play the Toronto Maple Leafs in a true home-and-home in the upcoming week. Here are three thoughts from the big win:
Cam Atkinson: Red Hot
The veteran winger has been on an absolute tear. His fifth career hat trick ties him for the most in franchise history with Rick Nash, and he's now scored in four straight games. In those four games – in which the Blue Jackets are 3-0-1 (oh, and he scored a shootout goal in the one loss) – he's posted an insane 6-3-9.
He was supported on the top line by the dominant performances of Pierre-Luc Dubois (two assists) and Artemi Panarin (three assists).
When Atkinson is shooting the puck, he's an All-Star level player in the NHL. In his past three games (all wins), he's shot the puck 14 times on net, and has scored five goals. More of that, please and thanks.
Bob Is Back
Bobrovsky is officially back to his old-self. In his past four games, he's posted a 4-0-0 record, and has given up exactly one goal in each of those four games. The Russian's shorthanded stop on a Jordan Martinook breakaway to keep it 4-1 was so matter-of-fact that it's barely a footnote in the game.
The four games haven't exactly been cupcakes, either, as he's faced 28, 34, 27, and 31 shots on goal. He's looked totally in control of every situation, and his team is clearly benefiting from his confident play.
Checking the numbers, I confirmed that when your goalie gives up just one goal in every game, the team wins more often than not.
Time On Ice
Any coach will say that when he has an opportunity to spread around the minutes, it's a win for everybody. Being able to "roll' four lines is a true luxury that cannot be overstated.
The score sheet from this game is nearly flawless, with only one player (Scott Harrington) failing to reach the 10:00 mark. Seth Jones, who played a team-high 27:26, was buoyed by his 8:00 of special teams ice.
Among forwards, the fourth line of Riley Nash, Lukas Sedlak, and Markus Hannikainen all played around 11 minutes, and no forward eclipsed 18 minutes. It may not sound like a noteworthy stat, but in an 82-game grind, giving your top offensive guys a rest, while including the other three lines (on the road, no less) is a major victory.