After two losses earlier this week, the Jackets headed to Tampa for a post-game matchup and through strong first and third periods, Columbus managed through a wobbly second to take home a 5-3 win over Jon Cooper and his Lightning. Alexander Wennberg, Brandon Saad, and Cam Atkinson all had multi-point nights, Zach Werenski led the team in shots, and the team continues their streak of now six consecutive games where they have had the winning share of shot attempts, putting up 50+ percentages going back to Nov 15.
There were numerous highlights, including Josh Anderson getting back on the score sheet, Werenski moving ever closer to the rookie defenseman scoring record, an Atkinson short-handed goal to give real breathing room in the game, and a five minute defense of their own net when Ben Bishop was pulled for the extra Tampa Bay skater.
During the game, Nick Foligno would describe the team’s focus as wanting to “impose their will” on Tampa Bay. They found a way to do just that.
Let’s take a look at the superlatives.
Zach Werenski is 19.
Most of the attention for the Dubinsky Jenner Atkinson line has been focused on the lack of scoring coming from the first two, but Atkinson has slowly been reclaiming his place in the conversation of offensive leaders. He had a goal and an assist tonight and the team’s second highest game score of 1.90. It’s been noted that this line is being used primarily as a defensive response to opponents’ top players and to continue to produce as Atkinson has is a statement to his consistently and quality of play.
Tonight’s goal by Atkinson was…a shorty. (But boy was it fun)
Alexander Wennberg is sneakily good. Tonight he got his fourth goal and fifteenth assist putting him in a three way tie for team points leader (with Atkinson and Foligno) which also happens to be a point per game pace. His play tonight highlighted what Torts describes as “playing fast” – not just skating fast but thinking fast. Wennberg was always in a position to play the puck in the Jackets favor. He showed it in all three zones, and the capper is this lights out pass to Brandon Saad for the game winning goal.
Tweet of the Game.
Columbus jets to South Beach tonight where they will face Florida tomorrow bringing a welcome end to the “week with too many games.” How will it turn out? Stay tuned.