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Statement made? Blue Jackets take first in Metro by pummeling Penguins

Los Angeles Kings v Columbus Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, OH - DECEMBER 20: Cam Atkinson #13 of the Columbus Blue Jackets is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a goal during the game against the Los Angeles Kings on December 20, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus defeated Los Angeles 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

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Sorry, Torts. People are probably going to make a pretty big deal about this one.

The Columbus Blue Jackets didn’t just beat the Pittsburgh Penguins to win their 11th consecutive game and move - at least briefly - to first place in the Metropolitan Division. They absolutely dominated the Penguins in the process, beating them 7-1.

(They’re also considered in first in the entire league thanks to tiebreakers. So yeah.)

In doing so, the Blue Jackets followed some interesting patterns:

The usual suspects: Cam Atkinson scored his 15th goal of 2016-17, extending his career-high point streak to eight games. Brandon Saad also generated his 12th goal of the season.

Others stepping up: Scott Hartnell grabbed the headlines, however, showing surprising speed during one goal and ultimately generating a rare hat trick.

Teams also must shudder at the thought of Boone Jenner possibly raising his level of play to a level that may approach his 2014-15 breakout.

Bob keyed in: As usual, Sergei Bobrovsky was sharp, even if the Blue Jackets didn’t necessarily need a near-perfect game from him.

Blowing out good teams: Let’s consider some of Columbus’ lopsided wins in 2016-17:

Nov. 4: That 10-0 shellacking of Al Montoya and the Canadiens.
Nov. 12: An 8-4 drubbing of the Blues.
Nov. 29: Handing a demoralizing 5-1 loss to the Lightning.
Dec. 10: Beating the Islanders 6-2.
Thursday night: Pummeling the Penguins.

The Blue Jackets fattened their 3-1 lead to a 6-1 edge with three goals in less than a minute during a staggering run in the third, and they scored four goals six-and-a-half minutes to start that opening frame. Ridiculous. College football pundits couldn’t keep up with the fun.

Columbus already came into the night with the best goal differential in the league, and now it’s at a resounding +44.

The Blue Jackets aren’t just “hanging in there.” Yes, their Metro lead is slim right now, but they hold games-in-hand advantages over their division peers.

And, again, they’re rolling over teams. Just ask the Penguins.

More: Sidney Crosby’s impressive but ultimately irrelevant goal.