Atkinson was replaced by Mark Letestu, who has spent the majority of the 2018-19 campaign with the Cleveland Monsters in the AHL.
As you can see in the video at the top of the page, the 29-year-old winger was struck in the mouth area by an errant puck after centre Lukas Sedlak rang a shot off the post.
Despite it being an innocent-looking play, Atkinson was assessed by team medical staff and head coach John Tortorella made the last-minute change to the game sheet.
Atkinson leads the Blue Jackets with 28 goals in 48 games and his 50 points ranks him second on the team in scoring behind Artemi Panarin’s 55 points. The extent of Atkinson’s injury was not immediately known.
Letestu, a veteran of 558 NHL games, has 13 goals and 13 assists in 39 appearances with the Monsters this season.
Columbus had lost three in a row heading into Thursday’s action.