By Judy Owen, The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Patrik Laine was proud he wasn’t predictable when he scored a hat trick in the Winnipeg Jets’ 5-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon.
Laine’s three power-play goals didn’t come from inside the left face-off circle, a common spot he blasts pucks from with the man advantage.
Instead, Laine scored his 21st goal of the season off a close rebound, deflected in a point shot for his second of the game and added his third after he stole the puck, passed it and got it back for a one-timer to end a 4-on-4 rush.
“Gotta find new ways to score. Haven’t scored that many goals from my spot,” said Laine, who has eight goals in his past eight games. “So just try to change it up a little bit, go to different spots and maybe get those kind of dirty goals and tips, that kind of stuff. So that was a good day.”
It was his effort backchecking before his third goal that made him feel extra good.
“Yeah, well, I started it. It was my pass and it went the other way,” Laine, 22, said. “You’ve always got to backcheck, and it doesn’t matter what the score is. That’s going to look stupid if you just stand there and not try.
“I’m proud of that, even if after that the result’s not a goal. It doesn’t matter. I still take a lot of pride from that play. Gotta keep playing like that.”
It was Laine’s eighth career hat trick, and first since he had a five-goal performance on Nov. 24, 2018 against St. Louis. He also surpassed last season’s point total (50) with the third goal. He sits at 23 goals and 51 points in his fourth NHL season.
The victory gave the Jets points in four straight games (3-0-1) after a five-game losing streak.
Kyle Connor scored once and added three assists, while Neal Pionk had one goal and two assists for Winnipeg (28-23-5). Blake Wheeler contributed a pair of helpers.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Mikkel Boedker scored for the Senators (18-26-11), who are winless in their past five games (0-3-2).
“I thought there was a lot of emotion during 5-on-5,” Pageau said. “But that is where we need to control our emotions and stick with our game plan and don’t give them the chance to go on their power play.
“That’s where they have their success, and that’s where they killed us tonight.”
Winnipeg was 3 for 4 on the power play and Ottawa 0 for 3.
Laurent Brossoit made 25 saves for Winnipeg, which was beginning a season-long, six-game homestand.
Ottawa netminder Craig Anderson let in four goals on 22 shots before being replaced at the beginning of the third period by Marcus Hogberg, who stopped 11 of the 12 shots he faced.
Winnipeg led 1-0 after the first period and 4-2 after the second.
Pionk scored his sixth goal of the season when a one-timer from the point went past a screened Anderson at 8:48 of the first period.
Pageau netted his 21st goal of the season 25 seconds into the second period with a backhand swipe at the puck that went by Brossoit to make it 1-1.
“I really liked our game 5-on-5, to be honest,” Senators coach D.J. Smith said. “I thought the first period was a good road period. Even the second period, we had our chances. Special teams tonight let us down. Certainly our penalty kill, that’s been great all year, gave up three.”
Winnipeg regained the lead at 7:49 just seconds after Nikolaj Ehlers exited the penalty box for tripping. Ehlers got the puck, sent a long pass to Connor and he beat Anderson for his team-leading 26th goal of the season.
The helper extended Ehlers’ point streak to five games, with one goal and four assists during that span.
Laine banging in a rebound at 17:04 to make it 3-1, but then a costly Winnipeg turnover cut the deficit to one again.
Brossoit went behind the net and tapped the puck to Pionk beside him, but the defenceman passed the puck out directly to Boedker, who easily fired it into the net at 18:29 for his first goal of the season in his 10th game.
Laine deflected in a Pionk shot with 12 seconds remaining in the second to make it 4-2 and scored once more at 8:43 of the third.
Jets coach Paul Maurice said Laine’s performance shows how his overall game is stronger this season.
“Maybe the last six (games), he’s right on an NHL player away from the puck,” Maurice said. “His physical play, he’s had some chances to score that didn’t go.”