Straight out of a Hollywood movie script, a triumphant comeback in a new pent up rivalry between the top 2 NHL draft picks made us salivate at the thought of their next meeting. In this bout it was the Winnipeg Jets 2nd overall pick Patrik Laine that got the best of Maple Leafs first rounder Auston Matthews. Though Matthews was the correct and clear cut choice for the #1 pick, I bet the Leafs wished they had Laine for at least one night after he put up a hat trick to end the game.
In what started as a blowout, it then turned into a 5 star thriller by the end of the night. Less than 10 minutes through the 2nd the Maple Leafs had a 4-0 lead that included 1 assist from Matthews, a later goal by Winnipeg’s Tyler Myers with 7 minutes left gave them a new attitude as they came out for the 3rd, and then the Patirk Laine show began. It actually started right away because the right wing from Finland scored 1 minute into the period, and get this, his 2nd goal came with less than a minute left (55 seconds actually) as they were trailing by 1 to tie it all at 4. Talk about playing end to end in a full 20 minutes, scoring on both sides of the minute mark. Laine has such an unbelievably quick release that it takes only a second to snap off, both of his first 2 goals let him use that skill. The first was in front of the net after a shot from Dustin Byfuglien went directly to Laine that was meant to be deflected, but Laine was able to corral it, spin, and then shoot all at once going top left above the goalie. His 2nd came in between the red face-off dot and the blue line on the left hand side, after a pass from his teammate the goalie had not yet shifted over so Laine had a moment of an open net, because of his quick release it went in no problem.
Now if clawing back from a 4-0 deficit against your new thrown rival wasn’t enough, the finale to this event was how the Hollywood crowd would have drew it up. 3 on 3 overtime leads to many opportunities on both sides thanks to the nature of its open ice, it’s entertaining to fans with action that keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time, this game was no different. In an ending that you thought Disney would have written, the #1 pick Matthews had a breakaway stoned by the Jets goalie only for the rebound to be sent out to Laine in a 2 on 1 setup. The quick handed shooter as expected shot instead of passed and won the game with a hat trick capping of a wild comeback! Auston Matthews is a great player but Patrik Laine got the better of him last night with 3 goals to Matthews 1 assist and of course the overall victory. There’s obviously no serious bad blood between these two but it’s great to see in the past 2 drafts the top 2 picks have a nice growing gamesmanship for each other and are excelling highly so soon as they learn there way through the league. Last year’s 1 and 2 Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel are star names already for their teams and now Matthews and Laine are doing the same quickly. The NHL is in great hands thanks to this wealth of phenomenal top picks.
Matthew Matera is a contributing writer for gmbsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @matty4_matera20, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your Google network