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Is Patrick Laine the next Alex Ovechkin? Wild's Boudreau sees similarities.

ST. PAUL -- A player surrounded by high expectations taking the NHL by storm. Minnesota Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau has seen this story before. Boudreau became Alex Ovechkin's coach in Washington two years after the NHL superstar scored 52 goa...

Nov 15, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets right wing Patrik Laine (29) collides along the boards with Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) during the third period at MTS Centre. Winnipeg won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 15, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets right wing Patrik Laine (29) collides along the boards with Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) during the third period at MTS Centre. Winnipeg won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

ST. PAUL - A player surrounded by high expectations taking the NHL by storm. Minnesota Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau has seen this story before.

Boudreau became Alex Ovechkin's coach in Washington two years after the NHL superstar scored 52 goals in a masterful rookie season. He coached Ovechkin for parts of five seasons with the Capitals and knows his talent level as well as anyone in the league.

So, it takes a lot for Boudreau to compare anyone to Ovechkin, and he couldn't help himself Tuesday when Winnipeg Jets phenom Patrick Laine's name came up.

"He's got a tremendous release of his shot," Boudreau said. "I used to coach a guy with a shot like that. ... The release of his shot and the quickness (with which) he gets it away is very Ovi-like."

Now coaching a team struggling to score, Boudreau sounded downright wistful when recalling Ovechkin. Laine was touched, too.

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"He was my idol growing up," he said. "It's nice to here those things when someone compares me to my idol."

Laine and the Jets will face Boudreau's Wild at Xcel Energy Center for a 6 p.m. puck drop. It's early to compare the 18-year-old to his idol Ovechkin - one of the best players of his generation - but it's not crazy, either.

The No. 2 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, Laine was tied for the NHL lead with 12 goals as of Tuesday afternoon. That's six more than Auston Matthews, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"I was a little surprised when I started to score a lot so fast," Laine said. "I've worked hard for it. It's nice to see that I'm in good shape right now."

Laine's potent wrist shot - already feared around the league - is a big reason for those goals.

"There is certainly a comparison (to Ovechkin)," said Jets center Mark Scheifele, currently second in the league with 23 points. "He definitely has a shot like Ovi."

Laine's shot isn't the only thing that draws comparisons to Ovechkin. He plays the same position on the power play - left point - and uses a 6-foot-5 frame to play with a physicality reminiscent of the Russian master.

The similarities aren't a coincidence.

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"I watched him a lot when I was younger," Laine said. "I tried to copy his shot. He also likes to hit people, so I tried to copy that. I just liked watching him and trying to copy some of the things that he does."

Laine also has a tremendous sense for the game - not always the case for players that come into the league as teenagers. That's something Boudreau said he noticed when watching film.

"He knows where to go at the right times," the Wild coach said. "He doesn't blatantly go to areas where he's not going to score. You definitely have to know where he is at all times."

Said Scheifele: "He's going to find those areas to score."

Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk is well aware of that.

"It's a challenge," Dubnyk said. "He has certainly shown that he's a great player at a young age, and he's got a really dangerous shot. That has to be something that we're aware of when we play."

Scheifele said other than Laine's obvious skill on the ice, he has been most impressed with the way he has handled the expectations off of it.

"He is a guy that has gone through his whole life - whether it was in Finland or in the NHL Draft or whatever - with that," Scheifele said. "He has dealt with it well. He has been doing a really good job for us."

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Laine is on pace for 46 goals, which would put him a half-dozen goals short of his idol's rookie mark. Not that he'll be comparing himself to Ovechkin anytime soon. He will leave those comparisons to others.

"I'm making my own career," he said. "I want to focus on my job, which is playing hockey on this team. I don't feel pressure from those comparisons."

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