Monday night was picture-perfect, although it's the preseason.
The Blue Jackets defeated the Sabres, 5-3. More importantly, they had five different goal-scorers, including Patrik Laine and Jakub Voracek.
This year, the Blue Jackets need Laine and Voracek to be at their best, especially on the power play. Monday night was a great indication that the two will work well together. Voracek notched a goal on the power play in the first period, then the two forwards combined to find Boone Jenner for another power-play goal. Finally, Voracek found Laine with a nice feed, and Laine buried a goal.
"It's been fun to play with (Voracek) and try to build chemistry," said Laine after the game. "I feel like we had some good looks right away when we got put together, and we're still learning about each other and how we play. With him you always have to be ready to shoot when you're in the o-zone, and vice versa. Gotta try to find him and let him do what he does best...with Boone in the middle, I thought we had some good looks there and hopefully we can build off this game."
Laine is a weapon anywhere on the ice with the shot that he possesses, and the Blue Jackets now have a great playmaker in Voracek. Each player compliments the other's skill set perfectly, and it was on display for Laine's goal last night. Voracek forced a turnover behind the net, then found a wide-open Laine out in front, who made no mistake.
Both Laine and Voracek think that Jenner's been a good fit between them. He can provide defensive responsibility and is solid on faceoffs. On Jenner's power-play goal last night, the three combined for a pretty passing play. Laine found Voracek streaking into the zone, who in turn found Jenner in front of the net with a quick pass. Jenner finished the play by jamming the buck past Sabres netminder Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.
When asked about what kind of center that he and Laine need between them, Voracek was ready with a twinkle in his eye. "(We need) a really responsible center, defensively. Let's be honest about that," he said with a laugh.
Voracek will also add a new dimension to the Blue Jackets' power play, which has struggled significantly in recent seasons. He's on the first unit, which also includes Jenner, Laine, Oliver Bjorkstrand, and Zach Werenski. With Laine on the unit, teams have to be wary of his shot, which will open up opportunities for the other members of the unit.
"(On the power play) every guy's got a different spot he needs to be, and if we fill them out exactly at the right time and the right moment, we can be very dangerous," said Voracek.
"They have to cover (Laine) because he's really dangerous. I would say there are three other guys like him (that can shoot like that): Pastrnak, Stamkos, and Ovechkin."