Columbus Blue Jackets: Cam Atkinson Needs To Keep Stepping Up

Blue Jackets Atkinson

Russell LaBounty – USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Blue Jackets got their third win in four games as they outlasted the New Jersey Devils by a 5-4 score. Third-year winger Cam Atkinson netted two goals and matched his career-high of nine goals, and if the Blue Jackets are going to keep themselves in contention while star goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is sidelined, they will need Atkinson to continue being a force on the offensive end of the ice.

Atkinson has three goals in the last three games, and he added two assists on Tuesday to bring his season point total to 16 points. He wasn’t the only forward to have a big night, as Nick Foligno and Matt Calvert had a goal apiece and Brandon Dubinsky had a goal and four points. That gave Columbus’ second line four goals for the night, and goaltender Curtis McElhinney made 30 saves to help preserve the win. While Atkinson has appeared in 27 and 35 games in the past two seasons, he now has cemented a permanent place in the Blue Jackets lineup and is on pace to score more than 20 goals. Columbus came into the game averaging 2.4 goals per game (21st in the league), so Tuesday’s scoring outburst was a welcome sight. The combination of Calvert, Dubinsky and Atkinson seems to be working for the Blue Jackets, and if McElhinney keeps rising to the occasion in net this team should be able to start moving up in the Metropolitan Division standings.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL featured columnist for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or add him to your circles on Google Plus.

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