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Game 78 Recap: Blue Jackets Hitting the High Note at Right Time

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Columbus roared through the Predators, 5-2, Artemi Panarin and Cam Atkinson set franchise history, and the Jackets keep on rolling.

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

A week ago, things were looking rather bleak for the Columbus Blue Jackets. And they haven’t lost since. The Blue Jackets scored three goals in the first period and Artemi Panarin had four assists on the night as the Jackets defeated the Predators 5-2. Sergei Bobrovsky made 23 saves.

Thursday’s best line, the fourth line, of Nick Foligno, Riley Nash, and Brandon Dubinsky started things off. But it was Cam Atkinson, Artemi Panarin, and Matt Duchene getting the club on the board fifty seconds in, with Atkinson getting his 40th.

While the Blue Jackets were on the power play, Viktor Arvidsson stripped the puck from Josh Anderson and scored his 33rd of the season on a breakaway to tie the score at one at the 8:50 mark.

David Savard, who came in with two goals in his last four games, stayed hot in getting the go-ahead goal with Panarin feeding him in the slot for the tally.

Surviving a late period surge by the Predators, it was Columbus who stormed down the ice and delivered the third goal of the frame. Even though it won't count in the stat book, give Bobrovsky an assist on the play. He stood tall in net, and then a ricochet off him fell to Panarin. Panarin skated the length of the ice to the top of the face-off circle, finding Oliver Bjorkstrand in the other circle to Saros’ left for the goal with three seconds left.

Not looking to settle on a two-goal lead, the Jackets came out smothering the Predators in the second period, dictating the play in the offensive zone. Nashville, though, would get back within a goal when Forsberg broke through, burying a rebound chance from P.K. Subban.

It only took 1:14 for a response, as Boone Jenner was able to poke ahead a loose puck and bury the biscuit top-shelf as Columbus regained the two-goal lead.

Atkinson, with already one goal on the night, decided to get back into the act with his second later in the second period. The play started with Panarin taking the puck up ice, along with Atkinson and Duchene trailing, the latter taking the shot and Atkinson scoring the rebound past Saros.

Atkinson had a shot at the hat trick when he was tapped on the arm during a breakaway on the shot, resulting in a penalty shot but was unable to convert for a third time. Nevertheless, the Jackets had another plentiful night offensively, and the club has now outscored opponents 20-4 during the win streak.

Dante Fabbro made his NHL debut for the Predators. Arvidsson’s 33rd goal tied the Predators single-season mark for a single season. Jason Arnott also scored 33 goals in 2008-09 as did Filip Forsberg in 2015-16. Atkinson’s first period goal was the first non-empty net goal since Mar. 9. With his 41st goal of the season tonight, he is now the second Blue Jacket to achieve the feat, with Rick Nash scoring 41 in 2003-04, and 40 in 2008-09. Panarin’s four assists gives him 53 for the season, 200 for his career. He had 52 assists all last season. Panarin’s 83 points on the season is the new franchise high for a player in a single season. He previously set the mark with 82 points last season. Markus Nutivaara took an inadvertent skate to the face in the first period and left to receive stitches. He returned in the second period. The Blue Jackets’ 5-2 win was just the sixth regulation win in Nashville ever.