Patrik Laine returned to Winnipeg for the first time to face the Winnipeg Jets at Canada Life Centre on Friday. The second overall selection of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft made an immediate impact with the organization, scoring 80 goals and recording 134 points in just his first two seasons.
At the beginning of the 2020-21 season, he was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Pierre-Luc Dubois. After a rough first season with the Blue Jackets, he has re-found his scoring touch, recording 48 points and 25 goals in 45 games.
Despite only playing four seasons with the Jets, Laine is responsible for some of the most memorable moments in the franchise’s history. Let’s take a look at some of the most iconic moments in Jets 2.0 history that Laine was responsible for.
Laine’s Hat Trick Overtime Winner Against the Toronto Maple Leafs
Laine’s most memorable moment as a Jet came on Oct. 19, 2016. Laine was facing first-overall pick, Auston Matthews, for the first time since the 2016 Draft. After Matthews was stopped on a breakaway by Jets goaltender Michael Hutchinson, Laine received a pass from Dustin Byfuglien and went the length of the ice to score the overtime winner.
The Jets were down 4-1 going into the third period of this game, and Laine recorded his first career hat trick en route to completing one of the best comebacks in franchise history. He scored one minute into the third period and tied the game with 55 seconds left to set the stage for the iconic overtime winner.
This game represented a change in the franchise’s fortunes. It wouldn’t be until the next season that the young core of Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Kyle Connor would hit their stride as top-6 forwards in the NHL. Watching these young and exciting players every night gave Jets fans a glimpse into the future.
Laine showed off his lightning-quick release on his first goal. On his second goal, he displayed his patented one-timer from the left circle. His third goal presented his pinpoint accuracy as he went bar-down over the left shoulder of Frederik Andersen to win the game. His first career hat trick perfectly showed how dynamic of a shooter he is, and how special of a hockey player he already was in only his fourth-career NHL game.
5-Goal Game Against the St. Louis Blues
On Nov. 24, 2018, Laine scored five goals in what was an 8-4 win over the St. Louis Blues. Four of his goals came at 5-on-5, and it’s easy to guess where his power-play goal came from.
Laine is known to be a streaky scorer, but when he gets on a roll he’s one of the most unstoppable players in the league. This game came in the midst of an 18-goal month, and this was the tip of the iceberg.
Like his hat trick against the Maple Leafs, he was able to display how dynamic of a scorer he is after scoring in multiple ways and ended up winning a lucky Jets fan a million dollars from the Sobeys/Safeway score to win challenge.
A November to Remember
Throughout his time as a Jet, Laine was most dangerous on the power play in his “office.” In Nov. of 2018, Laine scored 18 goals over the course of the month, 11 of which came at even strength. Second to only Mark Scheifele’s 2018 playoff goal-scoring run, this November scoring stretch by Laine was one of the most dominant stretches we have ever seen from someone across the Jets 2.0 history.
Related: Laine’s November a Month to Remember
To kick off the start of this goal-scoring streak, the Jets faced the Florida Panthers in Laine’s hometown of Helsinki, Finland, in a pair of Global Series games. Laine scored a hat trick on Nov. 1, and never looked back. He currently holds the franchise record for most goals in a single month by a Jets/Thrashers player, having beat out Ilya Kovalchuk who previously held the record with 14 goals.
Goals, Goals, and More Goals
What Laine will forever be known for as a hockey player is his elite ability to score goals. With the Jets, he became the fourth-youngest player in NHL history to reach 100 goals. In his rookie season, he scored 36 goals, which is currently good for the 29th-highest scoring season by a rookie in NHL history.
Laine followed that up the very next season, scoring 44 goals and helping the Jets finish the regular season with 114 points as the second-best team in the NHL. They made their deepest playoff run of the last decade, beating the Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators on their way to the Western Conference Final.
Regardless of the questions about his defensive game, Laine was vital in the Jets’ success during the 2017-18 season, having recorded 12 points in 17 playoff games and played a major role on the team’s second line. Along with Ehlers and Paul Stastny, their second line was a major driving force of offence during their playoff run.
There is no doubt that the second Laine was drafted, he instantly became a fan favourite. Between the highlight-reel goals, flashy playstyle, and dominant scoring ability, he was easy to pick out as a favourite player. He finished his Jets’ career with 140 goals and 249 points and is still the current leader in goals per 60 minutes in Jets 2.0 franchise history.