Video: Laine's five points lead Jets to 5-2 victory at home
WINNIPEG - In case there was any concern, the Patrik Laine show is officially back for another year.
The stud sophomore scored twice and added three helpers in a one-sided 5-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Monday on Bell MTS Place.
In the victory, the Jets potted four power-play markers and have now scored nine on 30 opportunities in five preseason games.
Laine's linemates, Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele, had three- and four-point efforts, while Nikolaj Ehlers and Dustin Byfuglien each added a goal in the victory.
Steve Mason made 26 saves to record his first preseason win as a Jet.
"(The power play) been good since the start (of the preseason), but the statistics in training camp don't mean a lot," admitted Head Coach Paul Maurice. "But the structure is right and most importantly, the players are engaged and they understand what it could be."
After the Flames erased a 2-0 first-period deficit with a pair in the final 3:45 of the opening stanza, Laine put the Jets back in front with a rocket on the power play to give the Jets their third PPG of the contest.
Video: CGY@WPG: Laine blisters in a snap shot for second PPG
He was pivotal, too, in creating a two-goal lead for the second time in the game as he picked up on assist on the team's first even-strength tally of the preseason. The sniper made a physical play on Calgary defender Tyler Wotherspoon before getting to the net and putting a shot off the post. Ehlers came in and coolly cleaned up the rebound to give the Jets a 4-2 lead at 3:49.
"We haven't used a lot of man hours to practice our power play yet, but we've been over some things that we wanted to see," Laine said. "Today, we saw those things."
With three and sometimes four right-hand shots available on the first power-play unit, Laine says they have a lethal combination at their disposal.
Video: POSTGAME | Paul Maurice
"It's good for Wheels that he's on his off side so he can pass the puck around. We've got three one timers - Buff, Scheif and me. We know somebody's going to be open. … It's good that we don't only have one option."
Byfuglien added one late - the Jets' fourth PPG of the night - with only 2:43 to play as he wired one from right point past Flames goalie Eddie Lack, with Andrew Copp parked in front.
"That's what you want in preseason - you want to continue to build and each game you want to get more comfortable," Scheifele said. "It's been a while without any games so you want to build, get more and more comfortable and get your legs under you more and more every night, and that's what we want to continue doing these last two games."
Video: CGY@WPG: Byfuglien ropes PPG in from the point
For the fourth time in five games, the Jets opened the scoring with a power-play goal early in the first period. With Brett Kulak off serving a tripping penalty, Laine rifled one off the goaltender, but Scheifele jumped on it between the hash marks and easily put home the rebound to give the Jets a 1-0 lead.
"We can't get too comfortable," Scheifele said. "We're clicking right now and we're keeping it simple and it's going in for us, but we've got to continue to work, for sure."
The Jets' power play stayed hot with their star triggerman taking centre stage for the second time in the preseason. Laine hammered a shot off the post earlier in the sequence, but found nothing but net on the second try, gunning it high over Lack's right shoulder put the Jets up by two.
Video: CGY@WPG: Laine blasts a one-timer short side for PPG
But not for long.
Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk had goals 2:43 apart to rally the Flames and even the score at the first intermission.
Monahan got things rolling at 16:15, showing great hands on a solo effort at the offensive line before splitting the D and firing a shot low, glove side. Tkachuk then took the puck wide on Jets hopeful Tucker Poolman and beat Mason with a weak shot from the far circle, tying the game with just 1:02 to play.
Mason was unbeatable after that.
Video: CGY@WPG: Mason shrugs shot aside to hold late lead
"That goal comes off our stick and it changes direction, (but) he wants it all day long," Maurice said. "He still probably wants it, but then nothing gets by him after that and that's real important to the bench. They feel right and comfortable with him."
LATE HITS: Adam Lowry left the game after the first period and did not return with a lower-body injury. Maurice said the injury is not expected to be "significant."… Jacob Trouba was ejected from the game early in the third period after he was issued a match penalty and a game misconduct for an illegal check to the head of Flames forward Marek Hrivik.
"I've looked at it a bunch of times," Maurice said. "I understand the call on the ice because of the way it looks, and I want that call in exhibition. You don't want to miss something like that and have the game get out of hand, but I think you'll find it was a pretty clean hit."
- Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com