Coyotes look to put clamps on Jets rookie Laine
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Coyotes have a simple but daunting task ahead of them on Thursday when they host the Winnipeg Jets at Gila River Arena.
The task is topping rookie Patrik Laine.
Laine, who was the second overall pick in the 2016 NHL draft, leads the league with 11 goals. The 18-year-old Finn is coming off his second career hat trick on Tuesday as the Jets demolished the Dallas Stars 8-2.
“It was unbelievable to score three goals again,” said Laine, who also scored three goals on Oct. 19. “I'm proud of myself and I'm proud of our team. We played a really good game. Scoring eight goals, that doesn't happen every day. It was a special win.”
The Coyotes (5-7-0), meanwhile, have won 3 of their last 4 since starting the season 2-6 and are coming off a 4-2 victory at Colorado on Tuesday night in what coach Dave Tippett said was their most complete effort of the season.
The game can be seen on FOX Sports Arizona and FOX Sports GO, starting at 6:30 p.m.
Winnipeg's Laine also added an assist in Tuesday's victory, and he's far from a one-man show for the Jets (6-7-1). Teammate Mark Scheifele is tied for second in the NHL with eight goals and tops the league with 18 points after his two-goal, two-assist performance against the Stars.
But it is Laine, however, who is getting the lion's share of the headlines.
“Each game he's gotten better and better, and now you see him finishing his checks, too,” Jets head coach Paul Maurice said. “What you saw in his first few games is that he doesn't want to make any mistakes, he doesn't want to get caught, he doesn't want to be a reason for an odd-man rush.
“What you're seeing now is, he's just learning the game now. Coming over when you're 18 years old, there's a lot to process, and Mark has been really good in the middle for him. You can feel it in the crowd. When he gets the puck from anywhere, you can feel it, the anticipation of the shot. Everybody on our bench has that same feeling.”
For the Coyotes, Jordan Martinook scored twice in Tuesday's win, defenseman Anthony DeAngelo scored a second-period goal in his NHL debut and Max Domi ended a season-long drought with his first goal of the season. Domi also had two assists, bringing his team-leading total to nine, including one on DeAngelo's goal.
“(Domi) wrapped it around (the goal) and they kind of collapsed, and I just tried to stay in the slot area,” DeAngelo said. “It was a great pass and I just tried to put it on net.”
He is the 10th player in Coyotes history to score a goal in his NHL debut.
“It was an awesome experience,” DeAngelo said. “I settled down as the game went on. The first couple of shifts I was nervous, but it's just hockey once you get into it. I felt really good and the guys made me feel really comfortable.”
Martinook's two goals gave him five for the season — tying Oliver Ekman-Larsson for the team lead. He centered the team's first line on Tuesday, as Martin Hanzal remains out with a lower-body injury.
“He's given us versatility in all roles of the game,” Tippett said. “He played the power play, he's a penalty killer, he's been pretty decent on face-offs. We were looking for some stability there (at center) and he's come in and given us stability there … He's just a real good utility player for us. Anything we ask him to do, he's more than happy to jump in and do whatever he can to help and that's the sign of a good teammate and a good player.”
The win was a nice turnaround following a listless 5-1 loss to Anaheim in their previous game.
“We took a step forward,” Tippett said. “The guys worked very hard. That's probably the closest thing to a complete game we've played all year. We got good contributions right throughout our lineup and ended up in a good win.”
Louis Domingue (4-6-0, 3.63 goals-against) will start in goal again for the Coyotes, while the Jets are likely to counter with Connor Hellebuyck, who has a 4-4-0 record, a 2.91 goals-against average in nine games.
NOTES: The Coyotes were 1-2-0 against the Jets last season, winning their only game at home and losing twice in Winnipeg. Shane Doan has eight goals and 12 assists in 24 career games against the Jets. . . . Winnipeg defenseman Jacob Trouba, who signed a two-year contract this week after a holdout, is expected to make his season debut.