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Patrik Laine scores two including overtime decider against the Toronto Maple Leafs

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 By Neil Becker


The Toronto Maple Leafs got an up-close look at re-dedicated Columbus Blue Jackets star forward Patrik Laine.

Unlike last season when Laine struggled and seemed discouraged, this former 2016 Winnipeg Jets second overall pick has been scoring this year at a more consistent pace and seems to once more be having fun.
Playing at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday night, Laine was all smiles following a dominant two-goal performance with his second coming twenty seconds into overtime to clinch a 4-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Leafs, who less than 24 hours earlier had suffered a 5-2 loss at the Molson Centre against the Montreal Canadiens, found themselves looking to snap a two- games losing streak.
Looking to avoid losing three -straight for the first time since October, the Leafs got off to that essential fast start when forward and Calder Trophy contender Michael Bunting scored his 17th at the 12:50 mark to give Toronto a 1-0 first period lead.
Columbus, who came into action having won two straight and four of five were badly outshot 17-5 in the second period but managed to pull even on the scoreboard when at the 6:13 mark, Laine showcased his skills by skating down on an odd-man rush before receiving a pass and successfully picking the corner on a hard snapshot to make it a brand- new game at 1-1.
Ironically enough, forward Auston Matthews scored his 34th of the year, which came with under five minutes left in the second and gave the Leafs a 2-1 lead. What makes it ironic about Matthews scoring right after Laine is the fact that they were both drafted first and second overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Matthews went first to the Leafs while as already mentioned, Laine went to the Jets. This second-period goal also puts Matthews one behind the current league leader in Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl.
The Leafs lead didn’t hold up in the third as Columbus responded with two early goals from Adam Boqvist with his 10th on a power-play followed by Brendan Gounce who just past the seven-minute mark scored his third to give the Jackets their first lead at 3-2.
Toronto had over 40 shots in this game, including 15 in the third but came up empty until the goalie pulled Leafs forward Jason Spezza continued his pursuit to 1,000 points by scoring his tenth which came with under three minutes remaining and eventually forced overtime.
That overtime session was looking for a hero and it happened to be Laine who continued his comeback season by scoring the Blue Jackets game-winner to send the Leafs to their third straight loss.
The Leafs next see action on Thursday, February 24th when back at Scotiabank Arena, they host the Minnesota Wild with opening

face-off scheduled for 7 p.m.


                                    SCORING SUMMARY

                              1ST. Period                                                    TOR-CBJ

                              12:50 Michael Bunting (17)                            1  –  0

                              Mitchell Marner (29), Auston Matthews (27)



                              2ND Period                                                   TOR- CBJ

                              6:13  Patrik Laine (17)                                     1 –  1

                            Boone Jenner (18), Zach Werenski (24)


                             15:23  Auston Matthews (34)                             2 –  1

                            David Kampf (11), Michael Bunting (18)



                             3RD Period                                                   TOR –  CBJ

                             1:05 PPG-Adam Boqvist (10)                           2 –     2

                                     J.F. Berube (1)


                             7:13    Brendan Gaunce (3)                             2 –      3


                            17:54  Jason Spezza (10)                                3  –     3       

                                     Auston Matthews (28), John Tavares (30) 


                             OT Period                                                    TOR –  CBJ

                             0:20  Patrik Laine (18)                                     3  –     4

                                      Jakub Voracek (32), Zach Werenski (25)


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