Tonight was a prime example of Patrik Laine doing Patrik Laine things.
With the Blue Jackets desperately looking for offense as the Blackhawks dominated the shot share in the early going, they turned to their marquee addition: Laine.
He didn't disappoint. Although the Blue Jackets lost in overtime, Laine shone on the power play, and overall. He finished with six shots on goal and it was the best he's looked in a Blue Jackets uniform.
"[Laine]'s a very skilled player...when he's confident, he can be the best player on the ice. He showed that for most of the game tonight, and that's huge for us," said Cam Atkinson, whose first-period goal got the juices flowing for the Blue Jackets in this one.
The Blackhawks were up 2-1 early in the second period, and the Blue Jackets headed to the power play with an opportunity to tie things up, despite being outplayed significantly by the Blackhawks in the first 20 minutes. It took Laine six seconds to tie things up. Seth Jones put the puck right in his wheelhouse, and the Finnish winger made no mistake, unleashing an absolute bomb past Kevin Lankinen.
"I'm just gonna rip it and hope for the best," said Laine after the game, discussing his strategy for letting go rockets on the power play.
Then, after the Blackhawks scored again to make it 3-2, the Blue Jackets got another power-play opportunity. Laine received a pass from Atkinson, but this time, he waited patiently and fired a wrist shot past Lankinen to tie things up, once again.
"[Laine]'s good to have on our power play. You can see how it's helping us out...if they leave him open, there's a good chance he's going to score," said Oliver Bjorkstrand, who notched two goals tonight in the third period, and came very close to notching a hat trick in overtime if it weren't for some excellent saves from Lankinen.
Laine also had the assist on Bjorkstrand's game-tying goal, which made it 5-5 late in the third period. He made a great play along the wall and found the Danish winger, who buried the puck to tie the game.
The Blue Jackets only notched one point tonight, and they were lucky to do so. Their power play success is certainly something to build on going forward, and their plan should have Laine as the cornerstone.