The Blue Jackets are a team that is actively lacking star power.
However, they still have a few players that can make a difference.
Like Oliver Bjorkstrand.
The Danish dynamo scored twice tonight and added an assist as the Blue Jackets took down the Predators, 4-2, at Nationwide Arena. He tallied four shots on goal, a hit, and a takeaway in 20:31 of ice time. With three points tonight, he brought his club-leading tally to 42 on the season, nine more than Cam Atkinson and Jack Roslovic, who have 33.
First, Bjorkstrand notched the secondary assist on Roslovic's power-play goal that tied the game at one apiece. Then, his first goal was a wrister from the right circle that beat Predators netminder Juuse Saros to tie the game at two apiece. A modified give-and-go with Mikko Lehtonen opened up some space, and Bjorkstrand uncorked his lethal shot past Saros.
"I'm trying to be more consistent," said Bjorkstrand. "Even though we've been out of the playoffs for a while now, you still want to play the right way and make sure you're playing some good hockey. That's been my mindset, and (there have been) times where I wanted to play better, but overall I'm getting better and being more consistent out there."
With 3-7-10 in his last nine games, he's certainly finishing the year on a high note, as are some other Blue Jackets. Despite John Tortorella's commitment to rotating defensive pairings throughout the end of the season, the lineup has remained the same over the last six games. This is due to the strong play of Gavin Bayreuther, Dean Kukan, and Mikko Lehtonen. Lehtonen notched two assists tonight with two shots on goal, four hits, and two blocks.
Offensively, Mikhail Grigorenko stepped up tonight. He tipped home a Vladislav Gavrikov shot for the go-ahead goal in the third period. Gavrikov also notched two assists tonight.
"You want guys producing, scoring goals, and playing well," said Bjorkstrand. "It's good for a team when more guys are going, so it's really good to see."
The Blue Jackets are quietly on a five-game point streak (2-0-3), as they try to gain some momentum for next season.
"I'm happy for them," said Tortorella. "It's a grind mentally, and we're not doing much practicing. We're trying to save ourselves and just play the game the right way. When athletes put the uniform on, it's time to try to win the game. We haven't won many of them, we've found ways to get back in them, scrounging to get points the past four or five games here...it's nice for them to get a win."