Times are good for Columbus Blue Jackets fans, who woke up this morning to find their team (still) atop the Metropolitan Division, with the nefarious Pittsburgh Penguins all the way down at the bottom. What can we surmise from the past week? Let's dive right in.
John Tortorella's Sweater Is A Big Mood
In case you missed last night's game, we're glad to inform you that John Tortorella is your new dad. Those are the rules.
Thanks to a bout with the flu, Tortorella tried out a new, cozier look and it is a big mood, folks. The result, #SweaterTorts, evokes both warmness and authority, and it's just so satisfying to see the 60-year-old find a look that works for him and immediately rock it with confidence.
In a literal sense of the word, John Tortorella was sick last night. In another sense, though, he was sick.
Cam Atkinson Is Good As Hell
Speaking of sick performances, how about Cam Atkinson lately?
Last night's hat trick (along with an assist!) was superb – and extended what is now a four-game point streak, during which he has tallied a total of nine points (6-3–9). His 12 goals so far have him near the top of the league leaderboards, and he's producing at better than a point-per-game rate to boot, with a 12-8–20 line over 19 games so far.
Atkinson's longevity and production with the Blue Jackets have him at or near the top of the franchise's all-time leaderboards, too. Last night's hat trick was the fifth of his career – tying him with Rick Nash (shocker!) as the franchise's all-time leader.
The Penalty Kill Is Good Too
So, the penalty kill wasn't *great* against the Florida Panthers, allowing two goals in four chances, but it was rock solid last night against Carolina. The Blue Jackets stifled the Hurricanes on all four of their power play opportunities, including two that directly resulted from a particularly egregious call.
That call, of course, came when Markus Nutivaara had a mishap with his skate (a cut lace) and the Blue Jackets somehow got called for a bench minor while he was getting it fixed. They then got whistled for too many men immediately after killing that penalty.
Last year, the penalty kill was a big issue for Columbus, as they ranked near the bottom of the league, but it's become a strength of this team lately.
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