It’s clear the Winnipeg Jets’ top line is firing on all cylinders again after combining for seven points in the win over the Boston Bruins on Thursday. Moving Patrik Laine to the number one line alongside Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele three weeks ago is paying huge dividends.
“It’s a completely different style of game, right,” head coach Paul Maurice said.
“I got three right handed shots there, so when he (Laine) opens up, he’s got two guys who are very, very fast. So Blake (Wheeler) just drives the pace, and Mark (Scheifele) is very good at finding holes off that.”
Since Laine switched lines he’s proving he’s more than just a shooter. With two more assists against the Bruins, Laine now has six helpers in his last six games.
“So I’ve always thought that was there,” Maurice said.
“I don’t think he makes an awful lot of bad decisions. He doesn’t make bad decisions with the puck. He never leaves a guy wide open off the back post and shoot it. He’s never done that.”
“I’m not just a shooter,” Laine said. “I’m a pretty decent passer as well, like we saw in this game.”
Laine’s deadly shot is well known throughout the league, so with goalies committing to his shot, it’s opening up more chances for his linemates.
“All eyes are on him when he’s got the puck in a scoring area, so I think people lose track of the other guys going to the net,” Wheeler said. “We don’t want to take that away from him, but there’s times where the right play is pass, and he’s making the play at the right time.”
“They’re good at creating spaces,” Laine said. “It’s just easy for me to try to read off them, and what they’re doing, and where the open ice is going to be.”
And according to the head coach, Laine’s passing is only one area of his game that’s been elevated since switching linemates.
“His 5-on-5 game is night and day better from the day that he went with those guys,” Maurice said.
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