Atkinson, Blue Jackets win franchise-record 10th straight

Columbus Blue Jackets' Brandon Dubinsky, left to right, Cam Atkinson, and Boone Jenner celebrate their goal against the Los Angeles Kings during the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. The Blue Jackets beat the Kings 3-2 in a shootout. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

COLUMBUS (AP) – Cam Atkinson had two goals and scored in the shootout, helping the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Tuesday night for their franchise-record 10th straight victory.

Columbus Blue Jackets' Cam Atkinson celebrates his goal against the Los Angeles Kings during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
Columbus Blue Jackets’ Cam Atkinson celebrates his goal against the Los Angeles Kings during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Curtis McElhinney made 44 saves and Sam Gagne scored the decider in the shootout, keeping Columbus unbeaten since Nov. 26.

The Jackets have points in 12 straight games, improved to 21-5-4 and host the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night with a chance to jump into first place in the brutally competitive Metropolitan Division.

Jeff Carter scored twice for Los Angeles, including a tying goal 10:16 into the third period, and also got a goal in the shootout. Peter Budaj stopped 25 shots but allowed goals on 2 of 3 shootout attempts.

The Kings, playing their fifth game of a nine game road trip, fell to 16-13-3.

Columbus got on the board at 7:35 of the second period when Brandon Dubinsky picked up a pass from Boone Jenner behind the Kings’ net and scooped it one-handed to Atkinson. Atkinson buried it past Budaj for his 13th goal of the season, extending his career-high seven-game point streak.

The Kings tied it with Carter’s power-play goal at 16:12 of the second, just 38 seconds into Josh Anderson’s penalty for roughing. Alec Martinez and Drew Doughty got the assists.

Atkinson’s shot from the left point at 4:05 of the third period put the Jackets back on top after a tenacious Jackets attack kept the puck in the Kings zone. Dubinsky and David Savard earned the assists.

The Kings knotted it after Gagner’s backhand attempt to clear the puck from the zone put it right on Carter’s stick. Carter buried a shot past McElhinney for his second goal of the night.

NOTES: Columbus won nine straight games during the 2014-15 season. … The Jackets had outshot opponents in 12 of their past 14 games, but the Kings pounded McElhinney with 46 shots.

UP NEXT

Kings: Travel to Nashville for a game Thursday night.

Blue Jackets: Host the Penguins on Thursday night. Pittsburgh thumped the Rangers 7-2 on Tuesday to tie New York for first place in the division. Columbus is in third place, trailing the Pens and Rangers by a point.

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