Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine impressing at World Hockey Championship
Duo has combined for 10 points in 1st 3 games
The world hockey championship in Russia is giving Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello plenty to think about.
With the No. 1 pick after winning the NHL's draft lottery, Lamoriello is getting a good view of the top two prospects as they play for their respective teams at the tournament. American Auston Matthews has been the consensus No. 1 pick for most of the NHL season, but Finland's Patrik Laine continues to impress.
The two faced off against each other Monday as Finland beat the U.S., 3-2. Although Laine's team got the win, the American centre won the head-to-head battle, registering the lone point between the two. Matthews assisted on Frank Vatrano's first-period goal, while Laine was held pointless and was a minus-1.
Although the two talented prospects combined for only four shots in Monday's game, the duo has shown plenty of skill through the first three games in the tournament.
Laine has a tournament-leading four goals — including three on the power-play — and is tied for first with six points (4G, 2A). Playing mostly on a line with Florida Panthers forwards Jussi Jokinen and Aleksander Barkov, the 18-year-old Finn has scored a few highlight reel goals.
This goal from Patrik Laine was something else for <a href="https://twitter.com/leijonat">@leijonat</a>. Celebrate the win over Belarus with a retweet. <a href="https://t.co/pnPnr4no2s">pic.twitter.com/pnPnr4no2s</a>—@IIHFHockey
In three games, Matthews has two goals and two assists is tied for eighth in tournament scoring. In Monday's game, he created the turnover off Laine which led to Vatrano's goal.
Matthews started the tournament on a line with Jordan Schroeder and Patrick Maroon, but has played with several different players as head coach John Hynes continues to experiment with different line combinations.
Despite the line juggling, Matthews has still impressed.
Big night for <a href="https://twitter.com/A_Matthews34">@A_Matthews34</a> with two goals. RT if you think he'll help get <a href="https://twitter.com/usahockey">@usahockey</a> a championship <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IIHFWorlds?src=hash">#IIHFWorlds</a> <a href="https://t.co/fPtuhI0twJ">pic.twitter.com/fPtuhI0twJ</a>—@IIHFHockey