MONTREAL – Max Pacioretty came to work Saturday night ready to get back to his winning ways.
After not having found the back of the net for his last 10 games, Max Pacioretty put an end to his slump Saturday night in a game he had described earlier that day as easily the most important of the Canadiens’ season. With the chance to leap-frog the Lightning with a win at the Bell Centre, the Habs’ power forward picked the perfect time to loosen the grip on his stick and put up some big points.
“Since the puck dropped, I felt like I was going to score tonight,” confessed Pacioretty after being awarded the game’s first star. “It’s such a relief to get that one in after 10 games, and I think the rest of the game afterwards I felt much more comfortable out there. Our line played huge minutes tonight – and important minutes as well. It’s a great feeling being able to step up and help the team wins games.”
Reunited with linemates Erik Cole and David Desharnais for the first time in five games, the trio proved they still packed a punch, accounting for two of the team’s three goals and helping the Canadiens keep their momentum rolling when they needed to most. While Pacioretty’s two points on the night clearly helped the Habs walk away with two points of their own, the New Canaan, Connecticut native made sure give credit where it was due.
“There was a lot of communication on the bench between the players and the coaches in the third because of all the leads we’ve been giving up lately. That communication from the coaches was huge and because of that we knew we weren’t going to let things slip away,” continued Pacioretty on the Canadiens bench bosses. “Tonight I think you have to credit the biggest part of our victory to the coaches. If you had a camera on them you’d see how vocal they were. They tweaked a lot of things in the third and it helped us a lot.”
The lead the Canadiens were able to hang onto in the third came largely due to their work in the second. Mike Blunden would score his first goal as a Hab, Alexei Emelin would provide some caged fury for his team finishing the night with seven hits, and the Eller-Moen-Kostitsyn line would turn in another 60 minutes of strong hockey. Max Pacioretty for his part, scored a breakaway goal on Mathieu Garon and put five of his seven shots on the night in the game’s second frame.
“I told myself I was going to stop thinking and just go out there and play the game that made me successful. As a fan, I know that probably seems a lot easier than it actually is,” Pacioretty offered up on having finally broken out of his slump. “Especially as a goal-scorer, the difference between scoring a goal and not scoring a goal is that millisecond where you either stop the puck and think, or just try and get a quick shot off. That’s really the difference between being successful and slumping, and I found that out tonight.”
“I’m a very competitive person, I’m hard on myself and I think that sometimes that’s what gets me to over-think,” said Pacioretty who now sits third on the team in points with 28, just behind Tomas Plekanec and Erik Cole, both with 30. “Hopefully in the long run, having to deal with adversity like this over the last little while will make me a better hockey player and I can use this experience to my advantage.”
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
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