MONTREAL – Max Pacioretty is making a career of bouncing back from injuries with a vengeance.
The Habs out-shot, out-hit, out-chanced and out-played their opponents Wednesday night and finally got the results to match. Led by Max Pacioretty and the first three-point game of his career, the Canadiens broke their losing streak in convincing fashion, turning in a physical, high-tempo match that gave the Philadelphia squad more than they could handle.
“I think as a team this was the most intense game we’ve played so far this season. Everyone was rolling and it was good to see. We had to do something to break out of that funk,” said Pacioretty after being awarded the game’s first star. “We all went out and had a great team effort and putting five goals in like that is a great feeling.”
Having left Monday night’s game against the Panthers in the second period with what would later be described as a wrist injury, it was doubtful that No. 67 would even dress against the Flyers. Not only did the Habs power forward not miss a game – he didn’t even miss a beat, picking two goals and an assist against the Flyers.
“I talked to Palushaj a bit and he was saying even all the way back to college I always played better after an injury. Maybe it’s just in my head, but I’ll take it. I think the injury made me rely a little bit more on my legs tonight, I was able to do a good job of getting in on the forecheck and that’s when I usually have success,” mentioned Pacioretty who fans may remember left a January 18th game vs. Buffalo last season in an ambulance only come back and notch a goal and an assist in the very next tilt.
“I’ve known Pacioretty for about three years now, and I know the kinds of things he’s capable of,” said longtime teammate David Desharnais. “He’s not going to stop impressing people any time soon. He’s a guy that can score goals and he’ll always work hard to get them. He’s a warrior. I don’t know too many people who would go out there and play with that injury, but he did, and he came up big.”
If Pacioretty was the explosion the Habs were looking for Wednesday night, teammate Yannick Weber can probably be credited with lighting the fuse with his buzzer-beating goal to end the first.
“I knew there wasn’t much time left, but I didn’t know it was less than three seconds. It was nice to get it just before the period ended to make sure we got into the second with the game tied 1-1,” mentioned Weber who also had some words of praise for the night’s first star.
“He’s a goal scorer. That’s what he does best and that’s what he did for us tonight. He jumped on some rebounds and it was huge for us, it gave us a great lift, helped us have a great game and that’s how we need to play.”
Less than 24 hours away from a date with their biggest rivals, it was clear that despite the solid performance, Pacioretty already had his eyes focused south of the border.
“It was important for me to know I could go out there and hold my own tonight, because tomorrow’s game against the Bruins will probably be 10 times more physical,” he finished. “I’m excited to go down there and get in our first game against them.”
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
The Numbers Game - Oct. 26, 2011
Perry Pearn relieved of his duties
Aaron Palushaj recalled from Hamilton