Finishing Strong: Cam Atkinson Turns in Solid Playoff Performance After Tough Regular Season

By Jacob Nitzberg on August 22, 2020 at 7:00 am
Aug 7, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Columbus Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson (13) skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period of game four of the Eastern Conference qualifications at Scotiabank Arena.
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into this season, expectations were high for Cam Atkinson.

The Boston College product put up 41 goals and 69 points during the 2018-19 campaign, both of which were career highs.

Unfortunately, fate had other plans. Atkinson played in just 44 of the Blue Jackets' 70 regular-season games, registering 12 goals and 26 points. He was sidelined for a considerable amount of time with an ankle injury. 

There was almost a six-month gap between Atkinson's last regular season game and the first game between the Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs in the Qualifying Round. It's safe to say that some rust was expected.

Instead, Atkinson was back to his dynamic self. In eight playoff games (he missed Games 2 and 3 vs. the Lightning), he was a point-a-game player, finishing with three goals and five assists.

He got it started in Game 1 against the Maple Leafs when he notched the game-winning goal and grabbed an assist.

In Game 2, the Blue Jackets were held scoreless, but they got back on track in Game 3. So did Atkinson. He had two assists as Pierre-Luc Dubois went beast mode and scored a hat trick.

In Game 4, Atkinson tallied again, but the Blue Jackets would blow a 3-0 lead in one of the most epic collapses you'll see. 

Then, the injury bug started to nibble away. In Game 5 against the Maple Leafs and Game 1 against the Lightning, Atkinson didn't register a single shot on goal. He looked a step slow, and it was clear that there was something bothering him. Then, before Game 2, it was announced that he was unfit to play. He had the same designation for Game 3. 

With the Blue Jackets desperately trying to stay alive in the series, Atkinson drew back into the lineup for Game 4 and scored again. He and Dubois had fantastic chemistry during the entirety of the postseason.

Then, in Game 5, he notched two assists as the Blue Jackets fell in heartbreaking fashion to end their season. While it wasn't the fairytale ending they were hoping for, Atkinson certainly did his part in trying to advance the cause. 

If he is able to keep his ankle healthy, he'll bolster a Blue Jackets lineup that desperately misses him when he's out.

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