Patrik Laine can be a confounding player.
On the one hand, his 5v5 play can leave one wanting more. He'll never be nominated for a Selke Trophy as the league's top defensive forward, and he's privy to turning over the puck with questionable passes. On the other hand, his ability to score an 'easy' goal makes him a valuable commodity.
Look no further than his two overtime game-winning goals last week, beating the stingy Seattle Kraken and New York Islanders. On both goals, Laine turned a seemingly innocuous play into a goal, and thus, a victory.
Hockey is a game of repeatable patterns. The best players are able to repeat the same dangerous patterns at a higher propensity than their peers. And, again, while Laine's game is lacking in some areas, he proved last week that his best asset - his shot - is a highly repeatable pattern that has a high degree of import.
On the first goal, Laine gives the puck to Zach Werenski in the neutral zone and immediately identifies the open ice in front of him on the right side of the ice. He drags his left leg behind him at the blue line to create as much space as possible without an offside call. Then, after dusting off the puck once to get it in his wheelhouse, he fires a rocket from the top of the right circle, beating Philipp Grubauer under the glove but over the leg pad.
Then, on the overtime winner against the Islanders, Laine fakes a drop pass to Jake Bean at the top of the zone. Anders Lee is forced to honor the fake, giving Laine time to turn the corner and get to - you guessed it - the top of the right circle. From there, Laine has the space and the speed to unleash his patented shot, beating Ilya Sorokin on the far post.
It's no secret that goal scorers flourish with extra space. Overtime (and power plays) provide the extra time, and thus space, for this type of player to utilize their best attributes. And in one week's time, Laine proved this - twice.