The Columbus Blue Jackets are rolling, picking up two more points tonight in a home win over the Minnesota Wild.
While the usual suspects – Cam Atkinson and Artemi Panarin – each tallied goals, it was surprise contributions from a fourth line that has, at times, struggled lately that really helped lift the Blue Jackets tonight. After Mikael Granlund got the Wild out to a 1-0 lead, Markus Hannikainen provided the equalizer, assisted by Riley Nash and David Savard. Nash would add his first goal as a Columbus Blue Jacket in the second period – which would turn out to be the game-winning goal – giving him two points on the night.
Atkinson, meanwhile, continued his torrid scoring pace. His second-period goal gives him an outstanding 10-5-15 line in his last nine games. He had a couple more prime scoring chances in the third period, working in tandem with Panarin to create a couple of exquisite chances, but was stopped each time by Devan Dubnyk.
Oliver Bjorkstrand found himself back in the lineup, too, in for Anthony Duclair, who is 'banged up' and may also be having some differences with coach John Tortorella.
Anthony Duclair will sit tonight as Oliver Bjorkstrand returns. Speaking with @971CandR yesterday, John Tortorella said he and Duclair have a difference of opinion as to what it means to play hard. #CBJ— Rob Mixer (@RobMixer) November 29, 2018
Despite not finding the score sheet tonight, Bjorkstrand was right in the thick of things, creating multiple scoring chances and making the case for an extended look in the team's top nine.
With the Washington Capitals not playing tonight, the Blue Jackets climb back into first place in the Metropolitan Division with the win, albeit only by a one-point margin. The Capitals have a game in hand, though.
Duclair missed practice yesterday and was not in the lineup tonight, but his status is day-to-day.
The Blue Jackets will head out to Long Island for a Saturday matchup against the Islanders, then come home to face Calgary on Tuesday.
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