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FINAL: Blue Jackets 4, Stars 3

Atkinson's 200th career goal the game winner as Columbus ends two-game skid

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

The Blue Jackets earned a 4-3 victory against the Dallas Stars on Thursday night in Nationwide Arena. 

Game in a Paragraph 

Challenged by head coach John Tortorella to be a harder team to play against, Columbus got off to a bright start and led 2-0 after one period of play. Dallas battled back in the second period and cut their deficit to 3-2 after 40 minutes, but the Blue Jackets scored early in the third and held on late in the period to take the victory and end a two-game skid.

Quote of the Game

Tortorella: "You know what guys, was it perfect? Absolutely not, but we found a way to win. Hung in there with the goalie pulled plus a power play and found a way to win."

CBJ Standouts 

  • Cam Atkinson scored his 200th goal as a Blue Jacket, becoming the second player in franchise history to reach the mark, joining Rick Nash. 
  • Patrik Laine scored his first goal as a Blue Jacket and now has 19 goals in 19 career games vs. the Stars. 
  • Oliver Bjorkstrand netted his fourth goal of the year to tie for the team lead and added an assist. He has a 4-6-10 line in the last 10 games, and his 10 points lead the Blue Jackets. 
  • Jack Roslovic notched his first goal as a Blue Jacket, a milestone moment for the Columbus kid. He added an assist and extended his point streak to three games (1-3-4). 

Video: Roslovic, Laine propel Blue Jackets past Stars

Quick Recap 

All four Columbus lines hemmed Dallas into their zone in their first shifts in the game, and the fourth line over the boards made it 1-0 when Bjorkstrand scored. The Maestro took a feed on the left wing from Mikhail Grigorenko, skated behind the net, came out on the right side and snuck a shot short-side past Dallas goalie Anton Khudobin just 2:23 into the game. 

Dallas controlled a lot of the first period from there but could not beat Joonas Korpisalo, and Columbus re-established its forecheck in the final five minutes and got a goal out of it with 3:01 to go when Roslovic opened his scoring account. A strong forecheck led to Zach Werenski getting the puck in the left corner and centering in the slot, where Eric Robinson touched it to Roslovic, who had plenty of time to pick his spot and beat Khudobin over the glove to make it 2-0. 

The Stars needed little time to cut the CBJ lead in half in the second period thanks to an early power play. Dallas' third-ranked power play took advantage, scoring at 1:18 when Denis Gurianov's shot pass from the right circle was right on the blade of Roope Hintz, who tipped it past Korpisalo to make it 2-1. 

Columbus had the answer, though, restoring its two-goal lead at 7:50 when Laine got on the board. Max Domi looked to just be dumping the puck in for line change, but Laine stayed after it, won a battle for the puck in the right circle, and fired a backhander that snuck through Khudobin to create a 3-1 game. 

It stayed that way when Vladislav Gavrikov hit the crossbar and when Korpisalo made an excellent save on a point-blank chance by Miro Heiskanen, but Dallas scored to create a 3-2 game with 2:18 to go in the period. A CBJ power play with Alexander Radulov in the box had the puck in the offensive zone for much of the two minutes, but shortly after it expired, Laine was dispossessed a nice movement from Heiskanen to Radulov to Jason Dickinson on the rush allowed the latter to tip a shot past Korpisalo. 

Columbus got off to a strong start in the third, though, and Atkinson's milestone moment gave the Jackets a 4-2 lead 3:42 into the frame. After a faceoff win in the offensive zone, Bjorkstrand got the puck into the right corner and fired a slick feed to Atkinson right in front of the net for him to sneak past Khudobin.  

Dallas wasn't done, though, as Jamie Benn drew one back with 8:59 to go. The Stars won a battle in the corner and Joe Pavelski got it to Benn alone in front, and he deked and slid the puck between Korpisalo's legs to make it 4-3. 

The Stars were on the power play for the last 1:42 but Columbus allowed just two shots on goal in the final moments and held strong to finish the win.

3 Takeaways

1. On the board: As Tortorella said, it wasn't perfect, but there were some good things to take out of it. At the front of the list was the fact the Blue Jackets got some strong performances out of players who needed them. Bjorkstrand and Atkinson had good nights with their goals, Laine got on the board for the first time, Roslovic continued some strong play, and the top defensive pair of Jones and Zach Werenski each earned a point and was plus-1. For the Blue Jackets to get out of the skid they've been battling, it's not all gonna happen at once but instead with some players slowly but surely turning things around. In all, 10 players got on the score sheet with points. "You hope they build off of it," Tortorella said. "Now we play our next game, you hope they feel better and confident with their offensive plays and seeing the ice. We're beginning to score some goals."

2. A better showing: Midway through practice Wednesday, Tortorella gathered his team around and made it clear it needed to get back to its identity of being a difficult team to play against. That just wasn't there through the first 11 games according to the head coach, and for the Blue Jackets to go anywhere, they had to play like, well, the Blue Jackets. It wasn't quite a full 60 minutes tonight, but it was a step in the right direction, as Columbus got the forecheck going more consistently tonight and had some more success getting out of their own zone. "I think we just played faster, more direct," Bjorkstrand said. "At the same time, we played with more confidence. Last game wasn't good enough, and we wanted to have a better game. I thought we took a step in the right direction."

3. Winnipeg boys: Laine and Roslovic were both big parts of the victory, with each scoring for the first time in union blue. It's pretty obvious what Laine brings to the table, and his goal is why you acquire him if you're the Blue Jackets -- he made something out of what seemed like nothing, a skill that's been in short supply at times around here. Roslovic, meanwhile, had an excellent night and now has notched four points in five games, perhaps starting to show the talk that he could produce more in a bigger role had some weight to it. When he was on the ice at 5-on-5, Columbus had a 7-1 edge in shots on goal. "I was talking to somebody today and saying it's getting into that time where there's no more excuse on being rusty," Roslovic said. "Gotta get the wheels turning and keep on playing a consistent and strong game. Tortorella admits chemistry is starting to come among the new additions, but it's not quite there. "With all the new guys in our lineup, we have some work to do as far as understanding away from the puck and what is expected and how we play, that part of the game, but we knew that was going to happen."

Notable 

Seth Jones earned the second assist on Bjorkstrand's goal, giving him 200 career NHL assists in his time with Columbus and Nashville. He also has 198 points as a Blue Jacket. … Korpisalo made 25 saves on 28 shots against, while Khudobin stopped 21 pucks. ... Robinson has a 2-4-6 line in the last seven games. … Grigorenko finished the Dallas series with a 1-2-3 line. … Columbus is now 9-1 in the last 10 meetings between the teams. ... Columbus blocked 18 shots to Dallas' six. ... The Dallas power play was 1-3 while Columbus was 0-3.

Roster Report 

Riley Nash returned to the lineup in place of Liam Foudy, while Korpisalo became the first CBJ goalie to make two starts in a row this year with Elvis Merzlikins on injured reserve. Scratches were forward Kevin Stenlund and defenseman Gabriel Carlsson and Scott Harrington. 

Up Next 

Columbus completes a stretch of eight of 10 games at home when it hosts Carolina on Sunday and Monday at Nationwide Arena. The Sunday game is set for 3 p.m. 

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