The lead headline coming out of the 4-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights was that the Blue Jackets, after dropping a season-high five games in a row, went out west and will return home with a 3-0-0 record.
But now that the dust has settled consider the season that Cam Atkinson has put together through 52 games. For the second time in his career, the Blue Jackets All-Star winger has hit the 30-goal mark.
His 31-23-54 are already his second best statistical season, only behind his 2016-17 campaign that saw the speedy winger post a career-high 35 goals and 62 points.
Atkinson's goals could not have come at a better time for the Blue Jackets. Down a goal in the third period, he scored a vintage Atkinson goal, picking up a puck on a beautiful bank pass from Artemi Panarin before gaining just a half step on the Vegas defenders. He took it to the net, was stopped by Marc-Andre Fleury, before stuffing home his rebound.
Just minutes later, the suddenly red-hot Blue Jackets power play answered again, and it was Atkinson again with the dagger.
Aside from shattering his own goal record (injury permitting), he's also well positioned to beat Rick Nash's single-season goal record of 41, scored in 2003-04, where Nash tied for the NHL lead in goals.
The Blue Jackets franchise scoring list reads like a broken record. Only 15 times has a player hit the 30-goal plateau. Nash holds the top three spots (41, 40, 38) with Atkinson's 35-goal season coming in at 4th place all-time. Nash's name is listed seven times of the 15, with Atkinson and Geoff Sanderson the only other repeat offenders. Ryan Johansen (33), Nick Foligno (31), Brandon Saad (31), and Boone Jenner (30) also hit the 30-goal mark for the Blue Jackets.
In the high-scoring 2018-19 season, Atkinson remains among the NHL's elite goal scorers. Only nine players have scored 30 or more goals this year, and it's a whos-who of names: Atkinson is tied at 31 with Connor McDavid (heard of 'em) and David Pastrnak. Brayden Point and Leon Draisaitl both lit the red light 32 times, and Patrick Kane, John Tavares, and Jeff Skinner all tie for second place with 33 goals. Alex Ovechkin (who else), who visits Nationwide Arena on Tuesday night leads the NHL with 37 goals.
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