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Labatt What We Learned: CBJ 2, WSH 1 (OT)

Atkinson, Werenski lead Jackets to sixth straight home victory

by Rob Mixer @RobMixer /

Recap: WSH 1, CBJ 2 - F/OT

Atkinson, Blue Jackets defeat Capitals in OT, 2-1

Zach Werenski tied the game late and Cam Atkinson scored the game-winning goal in overtime, as the Blue Jackets beat the Capitals, 2-1

  • 03:29 •

Sometimes, you're playing well and losing.

Others, you're playing poorly and winning.

The Blue Jackets were in the former boat tonight, and on Saturday night, they were in the latter boat.

Funny game, isn't it?

This game may have been the young Blue Jackets' sternest test to date; the Washington Capitals are one of the NHL's top teams and boast arguably the league's deepest lineup. Not only are they consistent and very stingy defensively, they have game-breaking ability on every line and often times, a blink is all it takes.

Once again, the Blue Jackets found a way to get it done on home ice. Tonight's 2-1 overtime victory over the Capitals was their sixth straight win at Nationwide Arena - tying a franchise record set twice before. They managed to keep the game within reach, tie it up in the third period, and take advantage of an opportunity in 3-on-3 overtime.

"It's an identity win," said coach John Tortorella. "It's a step in the right direction for your culture. Tonight's a good win for them. They should feel really good about themselves. I'm happy for them."

Video: Torts' reaction to the Blue Jackets comeback victory

Here's what we learned tonight:

1. (Copy/paste) Werenski is pretty good: Tortorella said he's noticed 19-year-old Zach Werenski hitting a few bumps after the adrenaline of the early season wears off, but they've been minor. Tonight was certainly not a bump. Werenski's ability to read a play, join the rush and bury a gorgeous shot under the crossbar completely changed the complexion of the game, and the Blue Jackets were noticeably energized in the minutes following the 1-1 goal. For the mistakes here and there that you'll get with a young player, the upside is remarkably high and he appears to have the makings of a star.

Werenski is the fourth-leading scorer among all rookies (13 points in 14 games) and is the NHL's fifth-highest scoring defenseman, in the company of Erik Karlsson, Ryan Suter, Shea Weber and Victor Hedman.

Video: Nick Foligno on battling back for an overtime win

2. The kepi goes to Singleton: Blue Jackets video coach Dan Singleton is one of the sharpest guys around, and he got another one right tonight. This one almost didn't happen, too - Tortorella said he and Brad Larsen were watching the bench monitors for goalie interference on Washington's apparent go-ahead goal (which came 53 seconds after Werenski tied the game), but just before the ensuing face-off at center ice, Singleton alerted the bench that TJ Oshie was offside on the entry. It wasn't a long review, either, and the call was overturned. Not only did the call give the Blue Jackets even more momentum than they had after Werenski's goal, but it instilled a sense of "let's go win this thing."

"(Singleton) deserves a bigger office now," captain Nick Foligno said with a smile. "It turned the tide of the game. That's a huge extra point for us."

Video: Dan Singleton Kepi Presentation (11/15/16)

3. No dice, but a game-changing PP: Down 1-0 at the start of the third period, the Blue Jackets had 1:16 of carryover power play time to work with. They didn't score a goal, but Tortorella and the players felt the chances they generated started to turn the game in their favor. It set up for a big third period effort capitalized by Werenski's goal, out-shooting Washington 13-3 in the final 20 minutes.

"That's all we wanted," Tortorella said of the early-period power play. "We had some great chances. It gave us some momentum. I felt we were playing well. We kept our patience when we were down, didn't open up.

"It's a really good win for our team to win a game that way."

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