Cam Atkinson had been sitting on 41 goals for a week.
Kept out of the net against Buffalo, Boston and the New York Rangers, Atkinson had one last glorious chance in the Blue Jackets' regular season finale in Ottawa Saturday night.
The most prestigious record in franchise history was right there on his tape. And then – robbery.
Seconds into the final period of a 6-2 Columbus win, Atkinson stole the puck from Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot. Skating in alone on goalie Anders Nilsson, Atkinson feigned going to his backhand to get Nilsson moving right, then cut hard to his forehand to deposit the puck in a vacated side of the net before Nilsson's glove appeared out of nowhere to erase a sure goal.
Hockey can be cruel like that.
A couple of inches in any direction and Atkinson gets No. 42, breaking a tie he held for the franchise record first set by Rick Nash in 2004, the former No. 1 pick's second season in the NHL.
Atkinson will be back at it, looking to light the lamp in Game 1 of the Blue Jackets' first round playoff series Wednesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. His 41 goals, 28 assists, and 69 points this season were all career highs.