Patrik Laine returns to Blue Jackets lineup against Arizona

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The Blue Jackets needed a big boost in the lineup, and they’re getting it.

Just 12 days after being placed on injured reserve for an elbow sprain, Patrik Laine is set to return to the Columbus Blue Jackets lineup on Tuesday against the Arizona Coyotes.

Laine played a period and a half of Columbus’ season opener against the Carolina Hurricanes, leaving after an awkward collision along the boards. His original recovery timeline was 3-4 weeks, but Laine took part in line rushes with Boone Jenner and Jonathan Gaudreau.

The Finnish forward is currently in the first year of a four-year deal worth $8.7 million per season. Laine had 26 goals and 56 points in 56 games with Columbus last year, helping to revive his career.

Laine had 36 and 44 goals in his first two seasons, respectively, but has failed to hit the 30-goal mark in the three seasons since. He was on pace for close to 40 goals last season but missed time

Laine missed six games in total, with the Blue Jackets currently holding a 3-4-0 record. Laine scored in his lone game action so far, and with him back in the lineup, the team is getting its most dangerous goal-scorer reunited with Gaudreau in what is still expected to be a big season for Columbus.

Having the pair matched up again gives the team a 1-2 dynamic scoring punch that has been missing since Artemi Panarin and Cam Atkinson caused mayhem in 2018-19. Many pegged the Blue Jackets as a team capable of fighting for a wild-card spot with Gaudreau’s inclusion and currently sit three points behind Pittsburgh and Carolina for first in the Metropolitan.

It’ll be interesting to see how Laine reacts quickly to being in the lineup. Elbow injuries can be tough on a shooter, but if the team feels he’s ready halfway through his expected, they must be confident.

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