When the Columbus Blue Jackets traded for Jakub Voracek this offseason, Sunday night's game is what they had in mind.
Voracek had two (primary) assists and the shootout game-winner in a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils on Halloween evening. Through eight games this season, the 32-year old has seven assists, tied for 11th in the NHL.
Voracek was brought back to Columbus for a handful of reasons, but it can basically be distilled down to two: to help fix the long-suffering power play and to give Patrik Laine a playmaking winger. And while Cam Atkinson, who went the other way in the deal, has gotten off to a great start in Philadelphia, it's hard to argue Voracek hasn't worked out.
On the first goal of the night, Oliver Bjorkstrand tallied his fourth goal of the year, a power-play goal. Bjorkstrand, who has gotten off to a great start in his own right, is an optimum bumper player on the power play. Voracek found Bjorkstrand wide open in the dangerous part of the ice to even the score at 1-1.
Later in the first period, Voracek found Laine for his third goal of the season. As mentioned, this is the exact type of play that the Blue Jackets brought Voracek into the fold to execute. On the play, Voracek stripped Devils captain Nico Hischier of the puck and turned up ice. Laine beat his backchecker up the ice, which turned the innocuous 2v2 into a more dangerous 3v2. Voracek delayed, and Laine found space on the left side of the ice and opened up for his patented one-timer. Voracek hit him with a perfect pass, right in his wheelhouse, and Laine ripped a world-class shot off the back bar inside the net.
Don't blink or you'll miss this Patrik Laine goal...— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 31, 2021
No seriously though. pic.twitter.com/m5DB9UikqA
Voracek capped off the night by scoring the lone goal in the shootout after Bjorkstrand and Laine both missed their attempts. Joonas Korpisalo stopped all three Devils' players, too, which gave Voracek the chance to 'walk off'. The savvy veteran came in slowly but deliberately, then froze Devils goalie Scott Wedgewood before beating him to the post with a backhand.
Backhand. Upstairs. Game over. pic.twitter.com/G1p5o0Z3RF— NHL (@NHL) October 31, 2021
Voracek is off to a solid start in his second stint in Columbus, and if he can keep it up, the Blue Jackets could continue to overachieve in the hotly-contested Metropolitan Division.