It took a little longer than 60 minutes of play Saturday, but an overtime goal by Cam Atkinson secured the Jackets' 3-2 win over the New York Islanders for the team's first franchise win in Barclays Center.
The two points earned put the Jackets in a tie with the Washington Capitals for first place overall in the NHL.
The Jackets gave the Islanders the first goal of the game, but just one minute into the second period, Oliver Bjorkstrand got the Jackets on the board. The rookie capitalized on a New York turnover and skated into the right circle before firing a shot to beat Thomas Greiss.
Josh Anderson, playing on a line with Brandon Dubinsky and Boone Jenner, scored his second goal in as many games to give the Jackets the 2-1 lead but the Islanders' John Tavares tied the game again 2-2 in the third. That is where the scoring would stop through the end of regulation.
In overtime, the second unit sent out by John Tortorella was Zach Werenski, Brandon Dubinsky and Atkinson. All three players combined to net the game winning goal 1:19 into the extra frame. Dubinsky carried the puck behind the net before feeding Atkinson net front where the right-winger beat Thomas Greiss. It was Atkinson's seventh game winning goal this season, tying a Jackets franchise record.
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"I saw Werenski, he was calling for the puck," Atkinson said. "He made a good play to Dubi, and Dubi has good enough patience, and he saw the players behind me. I couldn't see, I just had my stick on the ice. Dubi found a way to get it to me, he took the harder route, but we got the job done."
Here's what we learned.
Video: CBJ@NYI: Atkinson buries OT game-winner at doorstep
Expect the unexpected.
When the Jackets took to the ice for warm-ups in Saturday's matinee, Tortorella showed some new-look lines for his forwards. In addition to the changes to Brandon Dubinsky's line, Oliver Bjorkstrand skated with Alexander Wennberg and Nick Foligno. Cam Atkinson moved to play with Brandon Saad and Sam Gagner, and William Karlsson centered Scott Hartnell and Matt Calvert.
"I like what the lines look like (now)," Tortorella said. "I've been running things through my head as far as where the balance is with getting people in positions more often. I'm not sure what I'll do tomorrow. We'll see where we go with it but I thought right through our lineup…everyone contributed."
Video: CBJ@NYI: Anderson tucks Foligno's feed past Greiss
The kids are (still) alright.
The Jackets espoused their youth coming into this season, and boy did we see that group of players step up in Saturday's matinee. Three rookie skaters stepped up in key plays on the path to beating the Islanders.
Oliver Bjorkstrand got the first goal of the game off a solid individual effort and had four shots on goal.
Josh Anderson scored his 16th goal of the season and was second among all Jackets in shot attempts (6).
Zach Werenski earned two assists, including the secondary helper on the game winner off a cross-ice pass to Brandon Dubinsky who then set up the Atkinson game winner. With 11 goals and 35 assists, Werenski now sits in second all-time for points scored by a defenseman and is just five points away from tying for the overall lead.
Video: CBJ@NYI: Korpisalo blockers away Nelson's wrist shot
Confident in Korpisalo.
Just yesterday, Tortorella was praising the composure of Joonas Korpisalo. Saturday, the Finnish goaltender was in net and he beat the Islanders for the second time in as many starts. Korpisalo turned away 20 of the 22 shots he faced Saturday and found a way to remain focused even while facing sporadic action.
"Korpisalo made some really good saves," Tortorella said. "We had mostly territorial play until the third period and it's tough for a goalie when he's not seeing much action to come up with those types of saves. That's what I love about the kid. Nothing phases him. That's a big game for him at this time of year."