For Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty this season has been full of ups-downs and all in-betweens. It all started after a long training camp going into the first game of the season where the Habs took on the Toronto Maple Leafs and he suffered a wrist injury after he was hit by Colton Orr. While he left the game, he recovered relatively quickly and was back in the Habs line-up just a couple of games later.
After Pacioretty’s return to the lineup, he played a few games and when the team was on the road he managed to suffer another injury. This time was felled by a sprained hamstring in Winnipeg and he was forced to remain off the ice for what was originally announced as a 4-week injury. His “wolverine” reputation intact, Pacioretty came back quickly, less than three weeks, as he once again showed to be possibly being one of the quickest recovering hockey players in the NHL.
Despite the return to the lineup, the points didn’t follow. Despite plenty of shots and chances, Pacioretty seemed to be having trouble finding the back of the net. Whether it was luck, or whether it was lingering injury issues, or whether it was just poor play, we’ll never really know. However all those troubles seemed to disappear on Tuesday in a game versus the Minnesota Wild where he scored a natural hat trick. It was also his first game this season playing with linemates Brendan Gallagher and David Desharnais, which was the top line Coach Michel Therrien used the last twenty-eight or so games last season.
It was a full shakeup of lines for the Habs and it worked out great for coach Therrien as all four got in on the scoring in a 6-2 win for the Canadiens. In addition to Pacioretty’s hattrick, Michael Bournival, Daniel Briere and Alex Galchenyuk also added goals.
Now that points are back on track, not just for Pacioretty but the entire Habs lineup, we have to look at what is next for the Habs. I am sure Michel Therrien will keep the lines intact for the next game with the possible exception of re-adding Rene Bourque somewhere into the line-up (if he is well enough to go). The Gallagher, Desharnais, and Pacioretty trio will surely not be broken up though.
Pacioretty is having a busy month on and off the ice. Before the game against the Wild, he fired his agent. No reason was given, and with Pacioretty in the first year of a six-year deal, it seemed strange. After the game he was asked why it looked like he did not celebrate the goals and his response was, “I did, but I was also in the zone.”
Today, the day after the Wild game, is Pacioretty’s birthday; and it is also the Habs annual blood drive. One donor asked Pacioretty if there was any news on kids and he did reveal that he and his wife are expecting a baby sometime in the upcoming weeks.
I am excited, as are most fans after the 6-2 win at home, to see what Pacioretty and his teammates are going to bring to the upcoming games against Washington and Pittsburgh. Hopefully the squad can get things going and solidify a spot in the Eastern Conference Playoff Picture.
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Main photo credit: bridgetds via photopin cc