The Dallas Stars must hate Patrik Laine at this point and groan when they see the Winnipeg Jets on the schedule.
That hate doesn’t stem from the fact that he plays on a Central Division rival. There’s always going to be a certain level of dislike amongst divisional opponents, both of whom are set to meet once again on Saturday night in Dallas.
No. That hatred brews from Laine being able to do what he wants, when he wants against the Stars who, if history is any indication, know there is little, if anything, they can do about it.
Laine has simply eviscerated the Stars over his first two seasons in the NHL. In nine games, the 44-goal man from a year ago has notched 14 goals and added four assists — a two-point per game clip against a team that boasts a pretty good defense.
It gets worse, too. The domination hasn’t just come five-on-five. Five of those goals have come on the power play — Laine’s bread and butter — and five more of those goals have turned into game winners.
Laine has accounted for nearly half of the 31 goals the Jets have scored against Dallas since he entered the league in 2016-17. Hell, he’s nearly matching the 19 goals Dallas has scored against the Jets during that time all by himself.
He’s taken 34 shots against the Stars in his career and has scored on 41.2 percent of them. That’s Laine’s second-highest shooting percentage against any team (he’s 41.7 percent against the Toronto Maple Leafs).
In his typical, impassive fashion, Laine seemed unfazed by his success.
“It’s just another game for us,” Laine told the team’s website. “Every game is different. It doesn’t matter how many goals you have scored before. It’s always a new game and that’s how we are treating this one too.”
From trashing the Vancouver Canucks off the ice to thrashing the Stars on it, there’s not much that Laine can’t do these days it seems.