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Max Pacioretty of Canadiens not worried about goal drought

Forward downplays concerns about lack of scoring in playoffs entering Game 5 against Rangers

by Arpon Basu @ArponBasu / LNH.com Senior Managing Editor

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Max Pacioretty has been in this position before, far too many times for his own liking, so he knows how to handle a good old-fashioned Montreal firestorm.

The Montreal Canadiens' leading scorer with 67 points (35 goals, 32 assists) this season enters Game 5 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers at Bell Centre on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; USA, CBC, TVA Sports, MSG) with no goals through the first four games.

With the best-of-7 series tied 2-2, there would be no better time for Pacioretty to score his first of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, especially considering the winner of Game 5 in best-of-7 series that are tied has gone on to win 78.1 percent of the time, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Pacioretty did not speak to the media after the Canadiens held a team meeting Wednesday, a day much of the city spent talking about little other than his inability to score thus far.

 

[RELATED: Complete Canadiens vs. Rangers series coverage]

 

But he found ways to enjoy his day regardless.

"Yeah, why?" Pacioretty said Thursday when asked if he was able to tune out the world a day earlier. "We're 2-2, going home, it's a good feeling. Life's good, boys."

Pacioretty did admit to consuming some content on social media. But instead of reading posts by Canadiens fans freaking out about his lack of production, he found something else to occupy himself.

"I did see something on social media, I think it was a skating lesson," Pacioretty said. "A couple of Calgary Flames fans. Look that up. That's what I spent my afternoon looking at."

This is the YouTube video Pacioretty was referring to: two Flames fans making sparks fly as they skate on concrete.

Watch: Flames fans skate on concrete on YouTube

It is somewhat appropriate, considering how Pacioretty's performance in the series thus far is making sparks fly in Montreal.

Pacioretty had a similar goal drought late in the regular season; he went six games without a goal from March 14-25. Of course, these are always amplified when they happen in the playoffs, but there is a lesson for Pacioretty to draw upon there.

Coach Claude Julien pulled him aside during that difficult stretch and explained to him that he already had 33 goals, a perfectly acceptable total for a season, so he should stop worrying about scoring and continue to do the other things he does to help the Canadiens win.

Pacioretty scored a goal in each of his next two games.

"I've talked to him," Pacioretty said, referring to Julien. "It's something that I know you guys enjoy writing about and talking about, even before the playoffs. But for me it's not a storyline. My teammates told me they got asked about it [Wednesday], I'm not sure why, but if I can try and deflect any type of the negative stuff, I'm able to do so. I've been here for a long time now. I don't care really what the opinions are, other than my teammates and the coaches and the management. If I can deflect some of that, maybe I'll make life easier on the other guys.

"That's just the way life goes in the playoffs. I'm trying hard, I feel like I'm playing a pretty strong game right now. My last game wasn't great, but I don't think it was bad. But there are other areas to help the team win; I'm on the penalty kill, I'm playing big minutes. I'll leave the rest up to you guys, I guess, and just worry about this team."

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