Keeping the Top Line Rolling
I wrote earlier in the week about how the Columbus Blue Jackets top line is great, just not an elite top line in the NHL yet. The team doesn’t need a top five line in the league to win, they just need this Artemi Panarin – Pierre-Luc Dubois – Cam Atkinson line to keep on rolling.
That combination has accumulated 15 points in the last three games for the Jackets including nine combined points in the team’s 5-4 overtime win against the Sabres. In the first matchup against the Red Wings, this line opened the scoring with a PLD goal, and finished the game with a Panarin OT winner.
This line has been consistent all year long and has to continue that level of play. The three lines behind them have been on and off again all year. The top line though has brought it every game and needs to keep it up and then hope two of the three lines behind them can show up and contribute as well.
The Jackets rely on the top line a bit too much right now but it’s still early on and injuries have caused some shakeups farther down in the lineup. The lines are beginning to settle but until Brandon Dubinsky returns, the top line is going to need to continue to dominate.
The Jackets need to score a power play goal tonight and get the defense rolling. Their top line will look to drive play and carry the team yet again as inconsistent play from the second, third, and fourth lines continue. If the Jackets execute these three keys to the game, they will come away with two points and head to California feeling good.