Patrik Laine's mission is to put the puck in the back of the net.
A pure goal scorer who debuted with the Winnipeg Jets in 2016-17, Laine has scored at least 30 goals in each of his first three seasons.
Then, last year, things went a little off the rails for him. Yes, it was a down year. But there were plenty of possible factors:
- It was a weird, COVID-shortened season.
- He was traded to a new organization and city.
- He was forced to adjust to a new system under John Tortorella.
Looking for a bounce-back this season, the 2022-23 RFA has already won two games in overtime — he only had two prior OT winners before this season — and has three assists to go with five points in four games so far. In Thursday night's 3-2, overtime victory over the Islanders, Laine beat Ilya Sorokin with a snipe, low to the blocker side.
Postgame, Laine discussed his game-winning goal in overtime, as well as the thinking that led up to the moment.
"Yeah, it still felt good," said Laine. "(I) got the puck from (Werenski) and I was thinking about keeping it and going to the neutral zone, but then I just realized (the Islanders) had a long shift, so I may as well try something and I got past the guy. I just tried to shoot it and our goalie coach told me to go low blocker so that's where I went, and it went in."
Check out the big goal below:
Another element to Laine and the team's possible success this season is the addition of a guy like Jake Voracek. Surrounding scorers like Laine with complementary pieces should only make dividends and he answered to the fact that he, Voracek, and Werenski can flip positions on the ice to keep other teams guessing.
Some early-season power play success lends credence to that.
"Yeah, I mean I think that's what the power play is all about," Laine said. "Try not to be so easy to you know, judge what we're going to do. I think it's great those two can switch up a little bit and try to confuse them a little bit and it seemed to work at the last goal. I think, well we had some chances before but just didn't go in, but I'm happy to get that one goal."
Now if only Laine can score goals while Voracek is on the ice.
"I feel like (Laine) only scores when I'm not on the ice," said Voracek with a smile. "So I gotta talk to him, you know. What's up?"
The Blue Jackets are 3-1-0 on the season, so it's still very early. If this team can get going with the guys they have on offense, like Laine, they'll be fun and interesting to watch.