Pierre-Luc Dubois has two goals in two games, both coming from strong individual efforts. However, if you’re looking for a strong play, look no further than his game-winning goal against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Though scored essentially one-on-one with the Carolina goalie, calling it a "breakaway” would be a massive disservice to Dubois’ strength.
For his 3-2 goal Saturday, the Blue Jackets’ No. 1 center was contested his entire journey up the ice zone by Hurricanes winger Brock McGinn. Dubois, handling the puck with his right hand, strong-armed McGinn with his left and kept the Carolina forward at bay.
His power allowed the separation to eventually gather the puck and backhand his second goal of two games passed the shoulder of James Reimer.
"It was kind of just a race to the net," Dubois said about the play. "It was a great play by Gus (Gustav Nyquist) to cut that pass, create that play."
The goal appeared to be second nature for Dubois, who said he didn't think much on the play. "
To be honest, I didn't really know what to do," said Dubois. "He (Reimer) gave me the backhand, so I went with that."
His post-game comments don't give the goal the full credit it deserves. While he chose to focus on his line mate's pass and his decision on the finish, too much cannot be said on the ability to hold back an NHL opponent to create a one-on-one with a the goaltender.
With the second goal in two games, Dubois' play seems to be ramping up. With both goals coming from strong puck play, the third-year centre may be finding his niche.
On a team that many predicted to struggle in the goal-scoring department, a spark from the top-line center must be a welcome sight for the Blue Jackets and head coach John Tortorella.
Leadership can be a silent art and strong plays like these (especially to emphatically claim a third period lead) often say more than words. It's the kind of example a team needs one of its promising young players to provide, and Dubois has picked up his game after a slow start in the first week of the season.
This week is a stern test for Dubois, who is looking to cement himself as not only a go-to scorer, but also as a top center in the league. He'll likely draw minutes against Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn (Dallas), Jonathan Toews (Chicago) and Mathew Barzal (New York Islanders) over the next several days.
It feels like Dubois has been around for a while, but it's quite possible there's still more potential to be realized – and that's exciting for the Blue Jackets.