MONTREAL – The Canadiens shut down Steven Stamkos on Wednesday night and Montreal’s top line set some career-highs against the Lightning.
For the youngest player on the line, Max Pacioretty, scoring two goals against Tampa was quite a relief after going through an 11 game scoreless streak.
“Whenever you go 11 games without scoring, you’re aware of it – especially when you have the media who remind me all the time,” said the 23 year-old winger half jokingly. “It was fun to finally take that monkey off my back. It’s a huge mental thing.”
His former Hamilton Bulldogs teammate, David Desharnais was happy to see him get his groove back.
“Sometimes that’s all it takes to get going again. He’s still young. He had scored 30 goals already. I’m really happy for him. He’ll learn as time goes on,” shared the speedy pivot on his younger winger.
Montreal’s top line might have not been performing at the top of its game lately, but heading into Wednesday's tilt against the Bolts, they knew they had to rekindle their old spark.
“With three games to go, we thought we needed to have fun out there and it all worked out for us tonight,” shared Desharnais who reached a personal milestone on Wednesday by registering his 60th point of the season.
“At the beginning of the season I could have imagined recording maybe 50 points, but not 60. It all comes down to opportunities and taking advantage of them. If there weren’t any injuries I might have been on the third or the fourth line and maybe even in the stands. You’ve got to grab that chance when it’s presented to you and be ready,” confessed the Laurier-Station native.
“We call him Casper,” shared Pacioretty about Desharnais. “He’s like a ghost out there. He always finds a way to get the puck in the zone.”
And the lucky beneficiaries of those pucks in the zone this season have been Pacioretty and Cole who both beat Bolts goalie Sebastien Caron twice on the night.
“He’s a beast out there,” laughed Pacioretty when chatting about Cole who recorded his career-high 33rd and 34th goals of the season. “He’s taught me so much and he makes our line go. The three of us have great chemistry together out there and hopefully we’ll be doing it for two more games.
“I think between the three of us we don’t really see it as an individual thing but we see thing as a line, I think that’s why we’re successful. We all want to help each other out and hit those points. It would be nice to finish the season at the same level. We keep talking about it,” concluded Pacioretty who has 32 goals and 31 assists to his name so far this season.
Though Montreal’s first line keeps hearing praises day in day out, Pacioretty was adamant that it’s still a team effort.
“They help us out a lot. We don’t have to think about matching lines out there. I think that’s more of a momentum thing for our line. It’s nice that those other lines are doing a good job of shutting down the top players," dropped Pacioretty.
The Canadiens jumped on a plane to Raleigh after Wednesday’s game ahead of their tilt with the Hurricanes on Thursday night. The Canes will try and upset the Habs who are 2-1-0 when facing off Kirk Muller’s team this season.
Lee Anne Vincent O'Connor is a writer for canadiens.com.
Josh Gorges voted the 2011-12 Jacques Beauchamp-Molson Trophy recipient