MONTREAL – Find our where Max Pacioretty ranks in scoring among the NHL’s elite after Sunday night’s game.
Bright spot: Max Pacioretty’s scoring tear continued Sunday night against the Devils, despite the team not walking away with the results or the points they were in search of. Pacioretty’s third period goal on Martin Brodeur boosted him to a grand total of 25 on the year – making him only one of 17 players in NHL to have cracked that mark by this point in the season. Despite the individual accomplishment, Pacioretty was evidently more focused on the points that eluded his team.
“The second period was tough because we felt like we had energy, but anytime you give up a goal late in the period like that – especially when you’re already down one – it’s tough to come back. I still thought we came out well in the third – we just needed that effort for the entire 60 minutes,” expressed Pacioretty of the Canadiens’ early third period marker that pulled them within one of the Devils. The goal, Pacioretty’s seventh in 10 games, would be enough to push the Habs’ power forward one point ahead of Capitals’ superstar Alex Ovechkin in the scoring race.
“We had a chance to make up some ground, but we didn’t give a full game’s effort – myself included,” added Pacioretty. “If we had just played like we did in the third period than there’s no doubt in my mind that we would have won tonight’s game.”
Wear and tear: Already at the 60 game mark of the season, signs of fatigue are bound to surface around a team, whether in the form bumps and bruises, minor injuries or even a simple lack of energy. Against a team rolling like the Devils have of late, anyone of those things can be enough to cost you the game.
“We’ve had some pretty good stretches lately. I think right now the guys are a bit tired both physically and mentally,” offered the Habs’ head coach on the status of his team. “It happens. I hope now, that we can benefit from this time in Montreal to regroup and refresh ourselves. But it’s tough to go through a game like we did tonight. I think the guys’ intentions were in the right place, but collectively we couldn’t come up with a consistent enough effort.”
“No team at this point in the can really have a margin for error,” added Cunneyworth, mentioning how one misstep against a team like the Devils can prove costly. “We’re not going to have any easy nights or easy shifts at this point. Against a team like New Jersey that plays with an established system like they do, it’s hard to find openings sometimes.”
Perfect gentlemen: With the update given to the NHL rulebook after the 2004-05 lockout, games where a team doesn’t get a penalty called against them became a lot more scarce. Up until Sunday night, the Canadiens had gone on the PK at least once in every one of their games. The only exception: a match on Feb. 7, 2010 where the Habs never dealt with a penalty kill situation, but Scott Gomez was handed a roughing penalty at the same moment that Marco Sturm was also on his way to the box.
Sunday night, the Canadiens managed the feat again, incurring not a single hooking, roughing, interference, or any other penalty call that could have sent them to sin bin. The Devils were sent to the box three times over the course of 60 minutes by Tim Peel and Frederick L’Ecuyer, with the first ref blowing the whistle in over 595 NHL games, and the second only 33.
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.