HELSINKI — Patrik Laine scored a hat trick in his native Finland to help the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-2 win against the Florida Panthers in the 2018 NHL Global Series at Hartwall Arena on Thursday.
“I don’t think you guys could even imagine how good that feels,” said Laine, who didn’t have a point in his previous five games. “It might be different if I would have played really well the first games we’ve played. But getting rewarded like that was pretty awesome. Obviously, [it’s] good to be home and be able to score those goals back here.”
Dustin Byfuglien and Blake Wheeler each had three assists, and Mathieu Perreault scored for Winnipeg (8-4-1). Connor Hellebuyck made 36 saves, including 18 in the first period.
[WATCH: All Jets vs. Panthers highlights]
Keith Yandle and Evgenii Dadonov scored, and James Reimer made 32 saves for Florida (2-5-3). Aleksander Barkov, also a Finland native, had an assist.
“We’re still trying to break through and get that offensive production going,” Panthers coach Bob Boughner said. “Tough to win games when we’re only scoring two.”
Laine scored his second of the game at 3:28 of the third period during a 5-on-3 power play to give the Jets a 3-2 lead. He took a pass from Wheeler and beat Reimer from the left face-off circle with a one-timer.
Laine completed the hat trick with an empty-net goal at 19:17 of the third period to make it 4-2. Hellebuyck preserved the lead 38 seconds earlier when he saved Panthers forward Mike Hoffman‘s one-timer from the slot with his shoulder.
“He’s a 20-year-old young man that has a level of pressure on him that probably most people will never feel,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said of Laine. “He’s coming home, his game wasn’t where he needs it to be. Tonight was a good example of what we see from [Laine] so often. He scored three, but I think he could have had seven. [Reimer] made a couple of great saves on him. That’s the [Laine] that we enjoy in Winnipeg almost nightly.”
Perreault gave the Jets a 1-0 lead at 18:34 of the first period when he tapped forward Bryan Little‘s rebound past Reimer after a giveaway in the slot by Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau.
Yandle scored a power-play goal at 4:18 of the second period when Barkov fed him at the left point for a one-timer to tie it 1-1. Hoffman had an assist to extend his point streak to eight games (five goals, three assists).
Laine gave the Jets a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal at 15:14, receiving a pass from Wheeler before scoring on a wrist shot from the left face-off circle.
“He’s really hard on himself,” Wheeler said of Laine. “That’s something we try to work with him and keep him confident, but it’s also a good thing. It’s a great attribute for a guy to be able to look in the mirror. Maybe he’s a little bit too hard on himself sometimes, maybe he feels like he’s playing worse than he actually is, but you want a guy that cares, play with guys that want to be great. He’s certainly one of those guys.”
Dadonov redirected Mike Matheson‘s wrist shot past Hellebuyck at 17:54 of the second period to tie it 2-2. Dadonov has eight points (four goals, four assists) in a seven-game point streak.
They said it
“We had a bunch of our A players. Dustin Byfuglien, Blake Wheeler, Connor Hellebuyck, any one of them, and of course [Laine], could have been stars tonight.” — Jets coach Paul Maurice
“I think overall as a team, we played pretty good in their zone. We got a lot of chances, even empty nets. We just need to put the puck in. Too many penalties; they got like two 5-on-3s. As a team, you don’t want to give up too many opportunities on the power play.” — Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov
Need to know
Hockey Hall of Fame forward and Finland native Teemu Selanne dropped the ceremonial puck. … The game was sold out (13,490). … Laine is the second player to score a hat trick in a regular-season game played outside North America, joining Theo Fleury, who did it for the Calgary Flames against the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 10, 1998 in Tokyo. … The Jets set a Winnipeg/Atlanta Thrashers record by scoring a power-play goal for the ninth straight game. … It was Maurice’s third game as coach at Hartwall Arena. He won two games here with the Carolina Hurricanes against the Minnesota Wild to open the 2010-11 season. … The Panthers activated goalie Roberto Luongo off injured reserve prior to the game. He hasn’t played since Oct. 6, when he injured his knee in their season opener, a 2-1 shootout loss at the Tampa Bay Lightning. Luongo is unlikely to play Friday.
Jets: Against the Panthers at the 2018 NHL Global Series in Helsinki on Friday (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, TSN3, FS-F, NHL.TV)
Panthers: Against the Jets at the 2018 NHL Global Series in Helsinki on Friday (2 p.m. ET; NHLN, TSN3, FS-F, NHL.TV)