It was a frustrating season in Winnipeg, there’s no doubt about that. This Jets team was one that was expected to contend in the Western Conference after a disappointing 2015-16, but it didn’t happen. But if there was one major bright spot this year, it’s Patrik Laine, who had a better rookie season than anybody could have realistically expected.
Laine, the 6’5 Finnish winger who can shoot like Brett Hull, arrived in Winnipeg this year and took the city by storm, scoring 36 goals as an 18-year-old in the NHL. I know it sucks not being able to watch this team in the playoffs, so let’s relive all 36 of Laine’s goals from his spectacular rookie season.
Here’s where it all began. In the third period of the Jets’ first game of the season, Patrik Laine took a pass from Toby Enstrom and sniped a shot over Cam Ward and into the top corner. The Jets were down 4-1 early in the third, but Laine’s goal helped the team rally and ultimately come out with a 5-4 overtime win.
This is when the Laine hype train arrived. Four games into the season, we got to witness the first instalment of the Matthews vs. Laine Battle of the Best from the 2016 NHL draft spectacle. The Leafs grabbed a 4-0 lead, but as you surely remember, the Jets rallied.
With under a minute to go, the team down 4-3, Nik Ehlers pulls off an absolutely beautiful fake shot pass to Laine, who rips the puck by a sliding Frederik Andersen to tie the game. Auston who?!
You honestly can’t write this stuff. In overtime, Matthews is sprung on a breakaway, given a perfect chance to shut the fans at the MTS Centre up and give his Leafs the win. Michael Hutchinson turns him aside, then Dustin Byfuglien springs Laine with a great pass, and the 2016 second overall pick completes the comeback with his first career hat trick. Laine 1 – Matthews 0.
Dustin Byfuglien drags the puck along the blue line, fakes out the Stars’ forward covering him, then feeds Laine, who just rips it past Antti Niemi. He finishes it off with the stick twirl celebration for good measure. This kid is 18.
Are you starting to see a theme here? Some really nice passing by the Jets on the 5-on-3 power play as they work the puck around the box before Blake Wheeler feeds Laine in his sweet spot, sniping a laser right over Niemi’s blocker. Another thing to note here is the excellent work in front of the net by Mark Scheifele. We’ll be seeing a lot of him in this article, too.
I love this one. Laine takes a pass in the middle of the ice from Nik Ehlers, and makes a fool out of Danny DeKeyser before firing his seventh of the season between Petr Mrazek’s legs. That pivot, chip, breath, and shot make Laine look like a grizzled veteran. A player with less skill likely would have tried to get the puck and drive wide, but Laine makes a smart play, utilizing both his stick and legs, gets himself time and space, settles the puck down, and buries it. Again, he’s 18.
Laine does some great work on the forecheck and then gets himself to the front of the net where he can deflect a Ben Chiarot shot past Henrik Lundqvist. But we have to talk about Scheifele’s stick work here. He gets the puck from Laine, between his legs nonetheless, and moved around three sticks to feed Chariot at the point for a clean shot on goal.
Welcome to ‘Patrik Laine Makes a Fool of The Dallas Stars – Part 2 of 3’. For his first of the night, Laine deflects a Ben Chiarot shot past Kari Lehtonen for a quick 2-0 lead.
Scheifele makes a poor pass to Blake Wheeler breaking into the zone, but the duo do some nice forechecking work, and the Stars defencemen decides it would be a good idea to leave Laine alone in front of the net. Somebody owes Lehtonen dinner.
And for the finale, Laine streaks up the ice with Scheifele, takes the feed, and buries it home to complete the hat trick. The Jets end up taking the game 8-2. If only they could play Dallas more often.
An excellent drive by Dustin Byfuglien is completed by Laine, who crashed the net to put the rebound past Corey Crawford. That’s 12 goals in his first 18 games.
Just right to the top corner. A perfect shot. Cory Schneider could barely move before it was in the back of the net. This one was actually played well by the New Jersey defender, too.
No, this isn’t the same clip twice. But two times in the same night, Laine was fed in his sweet spot, right above the top of the circle, where he’s given that half second to wind up and crank a clapper past Cam Talbot. When will opposing players learn not to give him that time and space?!
Laine plays a give-and-go with Bryan Little here, then blasts right around Kevin Shattenkirk like a goddamn champ before getting himself open, settling the puck down, and firing it past Carter Hutton. This is why he’s so lethal. Laine isn’t just a sharp shooter, he’s also got the size and wheels to be a power forward, too.
That sweet spot again. Also, a great pass from Ehlers to find Laine open above the circle. This is become a theme too, you see!
By this point, the Avs had been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Damn, look how bad they are. Chaos at the blue line, then you let Scheifele and Laine break away on a two-on-one. Hmmmm… I wonder what’s going to happen. An in-stride, one-timer. Calvin Pickard had no chance.
This is a great finish by Laine, but we also need talk about Scheifele’s work to make the whole play happen. He takes a breakout pass, cuts to the other side of the ice right through Vancouver’s back check, dishes to Ehlers without looking, giving him and Laine a quick two-on-one chance. And, of course, Laine makes no mistake on it.
It’s Jan. 3 and Laine buries his 20th goal of the season. Reminder: He’s 18 years old.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 2016-17 Florida Panthers season. I mean, on one hand, great work by Bryan Little to poke the puck away, but also, what the hell is going on here? Anyways, Little feeds Laine, and somebody owes Roberto Luongo dinner.
Oh that pass. Oh that finish. Oh my. Just watch this one a few times. Little gets the puck, moves like he’s going to peel off into the corner, then quickly turns around before feeding Laine for the one-time snap into the top corner.
Josh Morrissey gets the puck away from two defenders, feeds Scheifele, who hits Laine in stride. The rest is pretty predictable.
You’ve waited patiently. Now it’s time for ‘Patrik Laine Makes a Fool of The Dallas Stars – Part 3 of 3’. Laine opens the scoring in the first period thanks to a nice play from Andrew Copp where in waits out a Stars defencemen who decided sliding across the ice was the best way to play hockey. That’s one goal.
With five minutes to go in the third period, the game tied 2-2, Scheifele wins a draw, the puck bounces around, Laine fends off Dan Hamhuis, and somehow snipes it right over Niemi’s glove. That’s two goals.
Here’s Laine, just casually hitting the net from behind his own blue line like it’s nothing. There’s three goals. The empty netter gives Laine his third career hat trick, and second against the Stars.
Tic-tac-toe. Scheifele hits Mathieu Perreault who quickly feeds it over to a wide open Laine. That’s 27 goals now.
Have you ever seen somebody so damn good at hitting empty nets?! Take the breakout pass off the boards, half a second to look, and boom. Game over.
The Battle of the Best from the 2016 NHL draft – Round Two. Laine scores his 29th and 30th goals of the season in Auston Matthews’ backyard, both on passes from Scheifele in the sweet spot. But this time, Matthews got the last laugh, as the Leafs took the game in overtime.
Gretzky to Kurri? How about Scheifele to Laine? Okay, okay, not quite. But seriously, this duo is dynamite. Scheifele wins the race to the puck, scans the ice, fends off Ryan Suter, then finds Laine in the slot. Another underrated part of this play? The touchdown pass from Byfuglien from behind the net, which was nicely tipped into the zone by Perreault.
This one is Laine all on his own. He carries the puck into the zone, does a button hook away from the Avs defender, then winds up and claps one over Pickard’s glove. That was a beautiful goal, but damn the Avs are baaaaaaad. At this point, it honestly looks like they’d given up.
A turnover created by Little results in a rush for Laine, where he snaps a quick wrister over Pekka Rinne’s glove and into the top corner. Snipe city.
This one is pretty funny. Laine gets a pass in his sweet spot from Byfuglien, he sends it well wide of the net, but it comes back out and into the crease, and Jake Muzzin shoves it into the net. This GIF accurately depicts the Los Angeles Kings’ season.
And here’s 35 and 36. Laine crashes the net and pots a rebound past Jake Allen, then, in the third period, he takes a Perreault pass and fires it home. He. Is. 18. Incredible.