Remember when we talked about Patrik Laine and how he was coming up short? Forget all that.
The Winnipeg Jets sniper popped in five goals against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night, marking the first time anyone’s done that in the NHL since Johan Franzen did it in 2011. Marion Gaborik also had five goals in a game against the Rangers in December of 2007, but Laine is in very exclusive company indeed.
Laine also became the first 20-year-old to record five goals in a game than some guy named Wayne Gretzky did it twice in 1981.
Laine is also climbing the ladder in terms of hat tricks, becoming second all-time on a list of most hat tricks before the age of 21. He has seven in 177 games, putting him below Gretzky’s dozen pre-21 hat tricks in 210 games.
Laine is just a goal short of 100 on his career and now has 19 goals and a total of 22 points in 22 games this season, which is just fine.
Back at the end of October, Laine had just five points total – including three goals – and he was in Finland looking for rejuvenation. Since then, he’s amassed 16 more goals – including the five on Saturday – and seems to be picking up the pace.
That’s 16 goals in 10 games since the Finnish trip, in case you were wondering, and 11 goals in the last four games.
And now, for the record, he leads the NHL in goals. Like, all of a sudden.
On top of that, some guy in Winnipeg won the million dollar prize from Safeway/Sobey’s thanks to Laine’s big night.
Laine is now suddenly on pace to set his career-best in scoring. He had 44 goals last season and 36 the season before that, his rookie year. The Tampere native has been searching for that extra edge since the Finland trip and he seems to be locating the better parts of his game.
Saturday night exemplified everything he can do right, even as it might’ve exemplified everything the struggling Blues are doing wrong.
The Jets won the game by a final score of 8-4, by the way, snapping a two-game losing streak and drawing even on their current road trip. And you’ve got to think that Laine, a team guy through and through, was happiest about the big team win.