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Pacioretty: I'm going to Sochi

by Kurt Dusterberg

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty said he's going to the Sochi Olympics despite leaving the game Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes with 7:30 remaining in the first period after being checked into the goal post.

"I'm OK. I'm going to Sochi," the U.S. Olympian said in the dressing room after Montreal's 4-1 victory. NHL players taking part in the Games are scheduled to fly to Russia on Sunday.

Pacioretty drove hard to the net and was hit by Hurricanes defenseman Brett Bellemore. He appeared to be favoring his left forearm as he skated slowly to the dressing room. He didn't return, and the Canadiens announced during the second period that Pacioretty had sustained a lower-body injury.

The 25-year-old has a team-leading 26 goals and 11 assists for Montreal this season.

"It's a play I make often," Pacioretty said. "I went in a little bit awkwardly. I banged up my arm and my hip. I was very worried at first. It was tough to breath and I was having (back) spasms. Once that went away, I was feeling a lot better. I got a lot of treatment during the game and I'm feeling a lot better."

Pacioretty didn't hesitate when asked if he was certain to be ready for the Olympics. He expected some lingering bruising, but otherwise felt he avoided a more serious injury.

"I think I got lucky," he said. "It could have been a lot worse."

Pacioretty is one of seven Canadiens who will compete in Sochi.

"If he was to miss that, it would be a terrible loss," said Montreal goalie Carey Price, who will play for Canada. "It's a very cool life experience to take part in."

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