Patrik Laine had one of the weirdest 30-goal seasons in recent memories. There were times when he looked like the best goal scorer in the league, but those stretches of brilliance were muddied by prolonged cold streaks. We ultimately saw two Laine’s this season when it comes to goal production and the big question is: Which will we get in the playoffs?
If the first period of Game 1 is any indication, the answer will please Jets fans. Laine took a monster shot that led to the first goal of their series against St. Louis:
Laine had just one goal in his final 19 games of the regular season. His game has grown in other areas, but it’s still fair to say that scoring goals is a big part of what he can bring to the table.
[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]
For what it’s worth, Laine did score in back-to-back games to open the 2018 playoffs, but was limited to three more goals in his final 15 postseason contests. So while this goal is obviously a good first step and a welcome sign given the season he’s had, it’s not hard to find reminders that there’s plenty to prove.
Meanwhile, one of the big X-Factors on the Blues’ side is rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington, who obviously was beaten by Laine there, but had a strong opening period. He made saves he needed to and shook off the collision with Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele early in the frame. While the Jets went into the first intermission with the lead and plenty of reason for optimism, the were silver linings on the Blues’ end and how Binnington performed early in his postseason debut was one of them.
Blues-Jets Game 2 from Bell MTS Place will be Friday night at 9:30 p.m. ET on CNBC
Ryan Dadoun is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @RyanDadoun.