Saturday, March 28, 2015

Hattie for Atty

Hat Trick for Cam Atkinson Tonight!
Tonight the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2.  This was a really good game, representing continued progression by this group of players.  In the lockout shortened season, and to a certain extent last year, the CBJ did not deal well with teams that brought speed into a transition game.  In spite of all of the injuries, it seems clear that team speed continues in the right direction.  Teams like the Blackhawks or the Oilers gave us trouble with their speed, but this year we have seemed to be able to deal with this the situation much better.

Last year we had trouble with the elite teams.  This year we have played them much better overall.  This season went off the rails early, but when they are healthy, they are a pretty good team.  I liked Craig Hartsburg's comment during the broadcast: 'When we skate, we're a pretty good team'.  The CBJ were really skating tonight.

As evidence of the team's continued progression this year, there were two franchise records set tonight.  For the first time there were back to back hat tricks, with Scott Hartnell getting one in the last game, and Cam Atkinson getting the hattie tonight.  The other franchise record, of more importance, is a franchise best 7 consecutive road wins.  The ability to win on the road will take a team far.  Nothing more clearly illustrates the frustration of this year than the dismal record at home, and there is probably nothing easier in hockey to correct.

Tonight the Blackhawks scored first, but Ryan Johansen counterpunched, stealing a puck up by the blue line and walking in alone on a breakaway for the tying goal.  Cam got his first goal next off a deflection of a Cody Goloubef shot to put the Jackets in the lead.  Chicago scored to tie the game, then Kevin Connauton banged a poor clearing attempt into the net, and Cam followed with a shortie and an empty net goal for the hat trick.

A fun but late game, after a trying week.  Time for bed.  The take away message is that in spite of the injury chaos, this team continues to progress.


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