The Week With Too Many Games continued for Columbus, as the Blue Jackets finished the first of two back-to-backs in a seven day span. Unfortunately for the home team, the victors were from Colorado. Matt Duchene put away an Erik Johnson feed to register the 3-on-3 OT tally, clinching a 3-2 win.
For most of the game, the Blue Jackets just couldn’t get the puck in the net. The goal shortage didn’t come for lack of trying, though. Columbus was firing on all cylinders throughout the contest, outpacing the visiting Avs in shot attempts in all three periods, and in shots for the first and third. And yet, with a minute to go in regulation, the Blue Jackets were still down 2-1. Firing and firing, and cycling and possessing, they just couldn’t bring the game even. Until…
The Good: Cam Atkinson
With 90 seconds left in the 3rd, the Blue Jackets pulled Curtis McElhinney to go 6-on-5, and the CBJ turned up the pressure. Shot after shot, good passes, good looks, the CBJ even called their timeout. Still nothing. Captain Nick Foligno went through an agonizing sequence, shot, tap, flubbing the puck. The shots went near and around (but not past) Semyon Varlamov every time. The score stood 2-1 in favor of the Avalanche.
Then, one Colorado icing later and with 6.5 seconds to go? Cam Atkinson delivered the crucial snipe.
That goal was Atkinson’s 7th of the season, because the CBJ winger also picked up his 6th goal earlier in the game. While the scenario was a bit less dramatic, the bank off Zadorov was fun.
(Pay no attention to the Tweet’s caption, Dubinsky was awarded initial credit. The officials quickly corrected matters.)
This will end up Atkinson’s 13th multi-goal game. Only 52 NHLers have accomplished the feat so often since Atkinson’s first NHL season (via Hockey-Reference). The Columbus winger has become a brilliant weapon for his team, and helped to lift the Jackets to a point.
The Great: CBJ Shot Attempt Dominance
It stinks that the CBJ won’t get awarded a full two points tonight, because they were superior to the Avalanche all game long. Via Natural Stat Trick, Columbus led in 5-on-5 shot attempts 79-45, nearly a 64% share of the action. Even a relatively lackluster 2nd was positive for the Jackets, finishing that frame ahead 20-15.
Top TOI player Zach Werenski imposed his will again, matched heavily against Nathan MacKinnon and winning the territorial edge. Seth Jones’ return to action (first game post-fracture) was similarly successful, finishing over 64% CF%. The shot battle was even good news for Boone Jenner (over 64%, however much consolation that is for a disallowed goal).
All but two Blue Jackets finished above 50% CF%, and eight Columbus skaters were over 65%. That kind of superior play is encouraging.
On the other hand, something not so pleasant in the here and now…
The Great the Other Way: Opposing Goalie Dominance
Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov finished with 40 saves off 42 shots on net, good for a scorching .952 SV%.
The takeaway: Varlamov won the game for the Avs. Teams can’t do all that much to counter a near-perfect goalie. And it’s something Columbus fans know all too well from the other side (Bobrovsky’s a game thief in his own right).
But the Jackets did manage to snatch a loser point, at least some reward for all their effort in the game.
Tweet of the Game
Happy Torts should be concerning for the rest of the NHL.
The Blue Jackets continue their crazy-busy week on Wednesday hosting the Calgary Flames in Columbus.