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Atkinson looking to 'play loose' after using scratch to reset season

Call from retired star, St. Louis, helped Jackets' forward move past disappointing start.

by Brian Hedger JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

Cam Atkinson got a text message Sunday that turned into a pep talk.

It also turned into a phone conversation with retired star forward Marty St. Louis, somebody Atkinson has long admired. St. Louis, an undersized scoring machine when he played, wanted to check in with Atkinson, who was scratched in the Blue Jackets' 1-0 victory Saturday night against the Arizona Coyotes.

St. Louis, who played 16 NHL seasons for three teams and finished his career with 1,033 points, brought a unique perspective to the chat. He also played for Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella, when they won the Stanley Cup together in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"He has a comfort level playing with 'Torts,' as well, from Tampa, and they've gotten into some pretty good arguments," Atkinson said Monday, after returning to the top power-play unit and third line in practice. "He's the type of guy who just lets you know what you are as a player, and it's pretty cool when you have guys like that you can look up to, and they're one phone call away."

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Preview: McDavid, Oilers visit as Jackets seek third straight win

Atkinson eager to return for Columbus after being scratched Saturday.

by Brian Hedger JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

GAME 31: OILERS (12-16-2) AT BLUE JACKETS (19-10-1)

NATIONWIDE ARENA, 7 P.M., TUESDAY

TV: FOX SPORTS OHIO/FOX SPORTS GO

RADIO: 97.1 FM & BLUEJACKETS.COM

After sweeping back-to-back games this past weekend, the Blue Jackets will get right back at it Tuesday against the Edmonton Oilers, another Western Conference with a point to prove.

Just like the Arizona Coyotes, whom the Jackets defeated, 1-0, Saturday night at Nationwide Arena, the Oilers are out to show their record isn't indicative of their capability as a team. Led by captain Connor McDavid, their young captain, Edmonton has posted strong numbers everywhere but the stat column that counts most: wins.

The Oilers are young, fast and skilled up front, and have the ability to skate with any team in the NHL. They're just off to a disappointing start, after advancing to the conference finals last season.

Columbus, meanwhile, entered Monday first in the Metropolitan Division (39 points). The Blue Jackets are 10-3-0 since Nov. 11, tied for the most wins in the NHL in that span, despite a group of veteran stars still trying to overcome sluggish starts. That includes Cam Atkinson, who was scratched Saturday against the Coyotes.

Atkinson, who hasn't had a point since signing a seven-year contract extension, will return to the lineup after using the game off to hit a figurative reset button on his season.

"It's a wake-up call, and I take full responsibility," Atkinson said after practice Monday. "I know I need to be way better, and I will be."

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#CBJ Social Roundup: December 11

Andy & Zach visit NHL Studios, Blue Jackets nesting dolls, Dale Jr. visit and more

by Jimmy Longo BlueJacketsNHL / BlueJackets.com

NHL Now: Werenski & Anderson

Columbus' Zach Werenski & Josh Anderson join the show

NHL Now is lucky enough to be joined by two very special guests: Zach Werenski & Josh Anderson of the Columbus Blue Jackets

  • 10:05 •

The past seven days for the Blue Jackets have been a thrill on and off the ice.

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Labatt Blue What We Learned: CBJ 1, ARI 0

Goal out of the gates provides all the offense needed

by Brian Hedger JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

Remember Sergei Bobrovsky?

Well, you should, because the reigning Vezina Trophy winning is still pretty dominant, even though he's taken a back seat of late to the Blue Jackets' top line.

Saturday night at Nationwide Arena, in the finale of their eighth back-to-back set of 17 this season, the Blue Jackets leaned on Bobrovsky, their top goalie, and he responded with a 35-save shutout to defeat the Arizona Coyotes, 1-0.

Bobrovsky also started for Columbus on Friday night in a big 5-3 road victory against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center - improving to 2-2-0 since getting a two-game hiatus Nov. 28-Dec. 2 to rest after a string of eight consecutive starts.

"Since his break that we gave him, this was his best start," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "We come back with him [again]. I think we need to get him in a flow after giving him a few days. Goalies need to get into a flow. He looked as sharp as he has since he had those few days off."

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Full 60: Jackets hold on late

CBJ kill double-minor to end regulation and come out on top

by Brian Hedger JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

This one was a grind.

After sinking a lot of effort into overcoming a 2-0 deficit Friday night in New Jersey, forging a 5-3 win against the New Jersey Devils, the Blue Jackets came into the finale of a back-to-back set Saturday night without a full tank.

The Arizona Coyotes hadn't played Friday, were hungry for an upset and were bolstered by the play of goalie Antti Raanta - who got back in net after missing time with an injury.

Columbus had plenty of reason to just accept exhaustion as an excuse and move onto next week, but instead the Jackets found a way to win, 1-0, at Nationwide Arena. They scored 30 seconds into the game on a goal by Josh Anderson - and another primary assist by Artemi Panarin, his sixth in two days - and made it stand up for a gritty victory. 

"I really thought for us, those two [last] periods [in New Jersey] were important," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "Not only did we win the game, but I thought we played our game. It was the most physical we've been this year, and I just thought we came together. I don't think it was there tonight, but tonight was just a game where you could tell guys just didn't have much juice. So, to win two of them, winning in Jersey the way we did, and then come back and find a way to win [here], it certainly is important at this time of year."

The Jackets won with defense and goaltending. They won with a suffocating penalty kill and Sergei Bobrovsky, who made 35 saves and now leads the NHL with four shutouts.

Columbus won, because the Blue Jackets just keep finding ways to prevail in games like this, improving to 10-1-1 in one-goal games.

Here's how it happened:

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Panarin displayed wide range of skills in huge weekend for Jackets

Six primary assists created off skating, hands, vision and hockey IQ.

by Brian Hedger JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

What a way to start a weekend, huh?

If you happen to see Artemi Panarin walking around town Sunday with a smile on his face, well, it's because he usually has a smile on his face. It may also have something to do with the six juicy apples he dished out to his Blue Jackets teammates the past couple days.

Panarin's six assists, all primaries, helped the Jackets sweep a back-to-back set this weekend against the New Jersey Devils on Friday at Prudential Center and Arizona Coyotes on Saturday at Nationwide Arena.

He strung together five against the Devils in a 5-3 victory, tying two franchise records, and tacked on another against the Coyotes on the only goal in a 1-0 win. His weekend performance was another reminder of why Columbus agreed to its part of a blockbuster trade last summer to get him from the Chicago Blackhawks, just hours before the 2017 NHL Draft began in Chicago.

Panarin isn't a carbon copy of the Blackhawks' Patrick Kane, whom he played with for two seasons, but he's pretty darn close - as the Devils, especially, found out. Friday night, he became the first player in more than 20 years to tally five primary assists in an NHL game.

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Blue Jackets recall Sonny Milano from Cleveland Monsters

Forward has registered five goals and five assists in 24 games with Blue Jackets

by BlueJackets.com Staff BlueJacketsNHL / BlueJackets.com

COLUMBUS, OHIO --- The Columbus Blue Jackets have recalled left wing Sonny Milano from the Cleveland Monsters, Columbus' American Hockey League affiliate, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today.

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Preview: Blue Jackets host Coyotes, looking for back-to-back sweep

Columbus leading 'Metro' race, buoyed by big win in New Jersey.

by Brian Hedger JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

GAME 30: COYOTES (7-19-5) AT BLUE JACKETS (18-10-1)

NATIONWIDE ARENA, 7 P.M., SATURDAY

TV: FOX SPORTS OHIO/FOX SPORTS GO

RADIO: 97.1 FM & BLUEJACKETS.COM

It took them 20 minutes to snap to life, but the Blue Jackets eventually got back to playing their brand of hockey in a 5-3 victory against the New Jersey Devils on Friday at Prudential Center.

They also got five primary assists from Artemi Panarin, who tied the franchise record for assists in one game. Panarin's big night matched Espen Knutsen, who had five assists Mar. 24, 2001 in a 6-4 victory against the Calgary Flames - in the Blue Jackets' inaugural season.

Panarin leads Columbus with 25 points (seven goals, 18 assists). He's on pace for 19 goals, 50 assists and 69 points

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Full 60: 'Breadman' slices through Devils to overcome Jackets' slow start

Panarin's playmaking took over when Jackets needed it most Friday night.

by Brian Hedger JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

NEWARK - After 20 minutes, it didn't feel a whole lot different than Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena.

The puck dropped at Prudential Arena on Friday, and the New Jersey Devils picked up right where they left off Tuesday, when they won the opening game of a home-and-home set against the Blue Jackets, 4-1.

The Devils raced out to a quick 2-0 lead in the rematch, dominating the majority of the first period, and appeared to be on their way to another big win.

Artemi Panarin had other plans, and the Blue Jackets are glad he did.

After watching "The Breadman" dish out an NHL career-high five assists - all of the primary variety - the Jackets had themselves an uplifting 5-3 victory to split the home-and-home. They also gave themselves a shot to sweep a back-to-back that concludes Saturday night against the Arizona Coyotes at Nationwide Arena (7 p.m., FS-Ohio, Fox Sports Go, BlueJackets.com).

"I try to keep my emotions in check," Panarin said through an interpreter. "Tomorrow's another game, and I just keep understanding that it's a sport, and sometimes you do the same assist, and it doesn't result as a goal. Sometimes, you do those assists and they become a goal."

He did five of them against the Devils. They all became goals.

Here's a breakdown of what happened:

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Labatt Blue What We Learned: CBJ 5, NJD 3

Jackets erase 2-0 deficit behind record-tying five assists from Panarin

by Brian Hedger JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

Artemi Panarin might not be scoring a ton of goals, but he's sure finding ways to set them up for the Blue Jackets.

He didn't score a single goal Friday night at Prudential Center, but delivered the primary assist on all five Columbus scored in a 5-3 victory against the New Jersey Devils -- tying a franchise record for assists in a single game set by Espen Knutsen in 2001.

It was Panarin's season and NHL career high for assists in one game, and helped the Jackets split a key home-and-home this week with the Devils - who won 4-1 at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday.

"He's so skilled," said Zach Werenski, who scored the fifth goal late in the third to pad the lead. "We see it every day in practice. We see it every game. What'd he get, five assists tonight? That's insane. It's fun to watch him on the bench, up close and in person. He's such a good player."

Panarin's assists were all primary helpers, helping the Blue Jackets (18-10-1) overcome a 2-0 deficit after 20 minutes.

The goals were scored by rookie Pierre-Luc Dubois, Lukas Sedlak, Scott Harrington, Alexander Wennberg and Werenski. Sergei Bobrovsky made 21 saves in the win, which ended a two-game skid and boosted the Blue Jackets back to first in the Metropolitan Division.

Here are six things we learned:

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