Published May 02, 2016
Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Cam Atkinson scored twice in a four-goal first period and added a late score to finish off a hat trick, as Columbus topped Chicago by a 5-2 count at United Center.
Ryan Johansen and Kevin Connauton also tallied in the first period for the Blue Jackets, who are finishing the season on an up note having won five in a row and eight of nine.
Sergei Bobrovsky picked up the win with 31 saves as Columbus stretched its road win streak to seven contests and put an end to a six-game losing skid in Chicago.
Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews scored in the opening 20 minutes for the Blackhawks, who have lost three of their last four. With Minnesota's 4-2 win over Calgary, the Wild crept within a point of Chicago in the Central Division.
"We had a lot of chances," Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith said. "We did a lot of good things, but at the end of the day we think we can play better."
Corey Crawford took the loss after giving up four goals on 13 shots in less than one period. Scott Darling turned away all 13 shots he faced in relief.
Connauton broke a 2-2 tie with his goal at 13:03 of the first period, a shot from the left point which was his third separate attempt in a span of a few seconds.
Atkinson followed with his second of the opening period on a clean breakaway while shorthanded at 15:46 for a two-goal spread for the visitors which signaled Crawford's exit in favor of Darling.
Atkinson finished off his second career trifecta by hitting the empty net with 59 seconds left in regulation.
"I'm happy to get (the hat trick) and happy to get the win," Atkinson said.
Saad opened the scoring for Chicago with a shot from the left circle just 3:26 into the contest, but Johansen answered only 41 seconds later for Columbus by outracing Keith to a loose puck and scoring on a breakaway up the middle.
Atkinson picked up his first of the contest just before the midway point of the first, then Toews equalized at 11:38 by tipping in a Johnny Oduya point drive.
The Blue Jackets take on the Blues in St. Louis on Saturday, while the Blackhawks head to Winnipeg on Sunday ... Atkinson's first career hat trick occurred on Apr. 5, 2012 against Colorado in a 5-2 Columbus victory ... Alongside Scott Hartnell's hat trick in the Jackets' previous game on March 24, Atkinson's three-goal night marked the first time in franchise history that two different players recorded hat tricks in back-to-back contests.