WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Patrik Laine is in some great company at the top of the NHL’s scoring race after a four-point outing.
Laine scored twice and added a pair of assists as the Winnipeg Jets beat the Minnesota Wild 5-2 on Thursday night.
The Finnish sharpshooter has 10 points through five games, tying him with Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, who had a goal and assist in his team’s 4-3 shootout win over New Jersey earlier Thursday. Laine and McDavid have three goals and seven assists, but the Oilers have only played four games.
“I wouldn’t be there without my teammates and my linemates,” Laine said. “I think they’ve done a really good job of giving me some great looks and opportunities.
“Like I’ve said before, I think my goal for the season was to try to work as hard as I can, every night, every day. I think I’ve been able to do that for the last five games. It’s still not quite there, I’m still working as hard as I can, but I don’t think I’m playing the way I can. That only shows what I’m capable of, and hopefully going to have a good rest of the season.”
Laine set up Kyle Connor’s third-period goal that broke a 2-2 tie.
Jack Roslovic scored 28 seconds after Laine and then Laine finished it off with an empty-net goal.
Blake Wheeler recorded a goal and one assist and Mark Scheifele contributed a pair of assists.
Connor Hellebuyck made 38 saves for the Jets, who won their home opener after starting the season with a four-game trip.
Ryan Hartman and Brad Hunt scored for the Wild, who opened the season with three straight losses for the first time since the expansion franchise started playing in 2000-01.
Devan Dubnyk stopped 27 of the 31 shots he faced for Minnesota, ending a streak of six straight regular-season wins over the Jets, including five last season.
“It’s certainly not where we want to be, but I think we’re pretty close as a group in here and we’re going to find a way out of this,” Dubnyk said of the team’s dubious start.
Minnesota led 1-0 after the first period and the Jets held a 2-1 lead after two.
The Wild had tied it 2-2 with Hunt’s high shot through traffic in front of Hellebuyck at 3:09 of the third.
Hartman opened scoring with his first goal of the season at 13:08 of the first period after he tripped up Jets rookie defenseman Ville Heinola, who lost the puck near the slot.
Winnipeg has given up the first goal in all five of its games this season.
Wheeler evened the score at 1:37 of the second period with his third goal of the season. Scheifele battled for the puck along the boards behind the net and fed a pass to Wheeler in front.
Wheeler’s goal marked the 700th point of his 865-game NHL career.
Wheeler said he has a plan for Laine, who missed training camp along with teammate Kyle Connor as both sought out new contracts as restricted free agents.
“My goal with him is by the time I’m out of here, he’s one of the best forwards in the league, in that conversation,” Wheeler said of the 21-year-old Laine.
“He’s a guy that has a ton of success at a young age. He’s been a huge part of our team success and when it doesn’t go well and you’re a young player, you’ve got to fight through it. Sometimes your emotions get the better of you and it’s hard to realize what you need to do.”
Scheifele set up Laine for his second goal of the season with a cross-ice pass he one-timed past Dubnyk at 9:10 for the 2-1 lead. Wheeler had the other assist.
Minnesota led 31-22 in shots on goal after the middle period.
The goals by Connor and Roslovic were scored during 4-on-4 play. Connor broke the tie at 8:47 with a low shot, and Roslovic scored off a rebound at 9:15.
Laine scored his third goal of the season into an empty net with 2:19 left.
“We’re not giving up after three games,” Minnesota head coach Bruce Boudreau said. “St. Louis was in third place until January third last year so, I mean, we’ll get it together.
“We do a lot of good things right for a lot of the game, we just haven’t been able to complete it.”
NOTES: Winnipeg’s patchwork defensive corps had Josh Morrissey back after he missed two games with an upper-body injury. … Veteran blue-liner Dmitry Kulikov also played after skipping the last game for the birth of his second child.
Wild: Hosts Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Jets: At Chicago on Saturday.