Matthews, Laine intensify rookie goals race with parallel star performances

John E. Sokolowski / USA Today Sports

The rookie goal-scoring race appears set to go down to the wire.

Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine recorded his third hat trick of the season in a win over the Dallas Stars, while Auston Matthews added a pair of his own in thwarting the New York Islanders' attempts to leapfrog his Toronto Maple Leafs in the standings.

Both players showed off their skills in the process.

Matthews' second of the night came off a brilliant takeaway, a testament to his already strong two-way game.

Laine, for his part, showed off his pure shooting skills on his second goal, creating a chance when there appeared to be no room to do so.

Matthews now has a one-goal advantage over Laine, with the latter holding an ever so slightly better scoring rate after having missed a few games due to injury.

Player Games Goals G/GP
Auston Matthews 55 27 0.49
Patirk Laine 51 26 0.51

While the first and second overall picks at the 2016 NHL Draft have the market cornered in terms of goal scoring among first-year players, they'll have to contend with Toronto's Mitch Marner in the overall points race.