Jack­ets’ top line shines vs. Knights

The Columbus Dispatch - - Sports - By Brian Hedger The Colum­bus Dis­patch [email protected]­patch.com @Bri­an­hedger

LAS VE­GAS — Their bench­ing Thurs­day in Ari­zona was a sur­prise, but the mem­bers of the Blue Jack­ets’ top line re­bounded in a big way Sat­ur­day night.

Artemi Pa­narin and Cam Atkin­son led the way in the Jack­ets’ 4-3 win with the for­mer con­tribut­ing a goal and two as­sists and the lat­ter scor­ing back-to-back goals in the third pe­riod to take the lead for good.

Atkin­son now has 31 goals for his se­cond ca­reer 30-goal sea­son — he also reached that mark in 201617. Pierre-luc Dubois also chipped in with an as­sist and a plus-1 rat­ing.

“I don’t think we played our best, but we found a way to get it done,” Atkin­son said.

Roasted Knights

The Golden Knights re­ally get into the whole Knight­hood thing, which they play up dur­ing pregame the­atri­cal pre­sen­ta­tions to get the crowd go­ing.

Spoiler alert: The Golden Knight pulls a hal­lowed sword out of a rock for­ma­tion at cen­ter ice, af­ter some of his fel­low Knights “fire” flam­ing ar­rows at some poor sap car­ry­ing a flag with the op­pos­ing team’s logo.

It’s cheesy, but it works in Las Ve­gas. It misses the mark with ac­cu­racy, though, in re­gard to the Blue Jack­ets. Colum­bus has proven to be a men­ac­ing, blue, fire-breath­ing dragon for the Golden Knights, who’ve dropped their past three games against the Jack­ets.

Colum­bus, which split the two-game se­ries last sea­son, swept this year’s se­ries with the win Sat­ur­day and is now the fifth team in the league to hold three reg­u­lar-sea­son wins over Ve­gas.

Get­ting de­fen­sive

The Blue Jack­ets al­lowed eight goals dur­ing the three­game trip, but only two were scored by for­wards.

They al­lowed six goals by de­fense­men, in­clud­ing all three in a 6-3 win to start the trip at the Colorado Avalanche and two more Sat­ur­day night by the Golden Knights.

Erik John­son, Nikita Zadorov and Sa­muel Gi­rard were the scor­ing de­fense­men for the Avalanche, Jor­dan Oesterle put one in the net Thurs­day at the Coy­otes, and Ve­gas got its first two from Nate Sch­midt and Jon Mer­rill.

Only one of the Blue Jack­ets’ 14 goals dur­ing the trip was scored by a de­fense­man — David Savard gave Colum­bus a 2-0 lead with 2:47 left in the first pe­riod against the Coy­otes.

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