|Cam Atkinson with 2 goals and a shoot out goal wins tonight.|
Jeff Carter doesn't.
Make no mistake. Jeff Carter is a better hockey player than Sidney Crosby. If he chose to be better than Sid, he would be. But he doesn't. It's part of his make up. Being superb at hockey has always come easy for Jeff Carter, so why ramp it up now? And who's to argue? He's got two Cup rings, same as Crosby. It's early in the season, the Kings will ramp it up later. It's who they are. It's doubtful that they will miss the point they left on the table tonight.
The Blue Jackets, however, countered with Cam Atkinson, who is certainly maximizing his talent. He scored two goals like Carter, as well as the shoot out goal, like Carter. But Cam and his mates came away with the two points tonight because the back up goal tender, Curtis McElhinney, played so well, and won the game in the shoot out to boot.
At the end of the day, the Jackets won their franchise record tenth straight game against the Kings, though they did surrender the charity point. This sets up a cataclysmic clash of Metropolitan Division leaders on Thursday, as the Pittsburgh Penguins come to town, fresh off of a curb stomping of the otherwise Division leading New York Rangers.
In the greater context of things, I am fascinated to see how the Blue Jackets perform against the defending Cup Champions. This is an early season measuring stick game for the group, and we will learn a lot about where things stand no matter how this game turns out. This is the NHL. The opposition will make sure you don't win too many games in a row. So, its hard to see how things will turn out on Thursday. On the other hand, it is really going to be a fantastic game to be at, and the atmosphere will be crazy. I am really looking forward to the whole thing.
Since the Jackets started playing so well, I have had the upcoming game circled as one to measure their ability to respond to adversity. I'm pretty sure the Pens plan on applying some adversity. I'm also pretty sure that the Pens are not planning on the response I think they are going to get. Which should lead to an interesting evening.
The Jackets split the season series with the Kings by winning tonight in a shoot out, 3-2 for their tenth (10th) straight win. How awesome is that?