Atkinson’s hat trick lifts Blue Jackets to 4-1 win over Canes

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Cam Atkinson scored three goals and assisted on another as the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 Saturday night for their fifth victory in six games.

Atkinson stretched his goal-scoring streak to four games and Artemi Panarin contributed three assists as the Blue Jackets (12-6-2) broke a six-game skid against Metropolitan Division rival Carolina (8-8-3).

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 30 shots to earn the win.

Sebastian Aho scored his sixth goal of the season 6:05 into the second period for the Hurricanes, cutting their deficit to 2-1 with a wraparound that slid just inside the far post. Just 1:17 later, Atkinson backhanded a pass to Zach Werenski in the slot for a wrister that beat Scott Darling on the glove side.

Atkinson completed his fifth career hat trick 3:58 later on a power play with a shot from the top of the faceoff circle to the left of Darling, increasing Columbus’ lead to 4-1. Atkinson has six of his team-high 12 goals in the last four games.

Panarin assisted on all three of Atkinson’s goals and leads the Blue Jackets with 16 assists and 21 points. Pierre-Luc Dubois added two assists for Columbus, which played penalty-free hockey for the first 34 minutes.

Bobrovsky preserved the three-goal lead by stopping Jordan Martinook on a breakaway while Carolina was short-handed early in the third period. Later, Dougie Hamilton clanged a shot off the far post behind Bobrovsky.

The Hurricanes are 2-5-2 in their last nine games. Columbus’ only loss in the past 13 days came in a shootout against the New York Rangers last Saturday.

NOTES: Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno was scratched because of a personal matter. … Columbus has scored at least four goals in three of its last four games. … Aho extended his point streak to four games. … This was the third game of a six-game homestand for Carolina.

UP NEXT

Blue Jackets: At Toronto on Monday night.

Hurricanes: Host New Jersey on Sunday.