Laine puzzled by late benching: 'I thought I was playing good'

Jamie Sabau / National Hockey League / Getty

Columbus Blue Jackets sniper Patrik Laine isn't quite sure why he was stuck to the bench during the late stages of the club's 5-4 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday.

The 22-year-old logged just 2:20 of ice time in the third period and didn't play in the final seven minutes of regulation or overtime despite having what he believed to be a strong game.

"Yeah we got scored on a couple of times but I think the first two, if you take out the one play where the puck was bouncing a little bit and I couldn't get it out and they ended up scoring, I thought I was playing good, but I guess I thought wrong," Laine told reporters following the loss.

Laine, who said earlier Thursday his confidence was "closer to zero" amid a seven-game point slump, tallied one goal and one assist to help Columbus open a 4-1 lead after two periods. However, his line was out for a pair of Panthers' third-period tallies, which could have led to his benching.

Head coach John Tortorella didn't offer much when asked about his decision to shorten the bench as the game progressed.

"At that point in time that's just the way it worked out," Tortorella said.

The Blue Jackets acquired Laine from the Winnipeg Jets in January. The Finnish forward was benched in just his fourth game with the club in February for reportedly verbally disrespecting a member of the coaching staff.

Laine puzzled by late benching: 'I thought I was playing good'
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