Spotlight on the Opponent: Max Pacioretty

Max Pacioretty

What: Montreal at Detroit
When: Friday, January 24, 7:30pm (TV: RDS; TSN; NLHN-US; FSD)

The Montreal Canadiens’ leading goal scorer is a Connecticut Yankee in Coach Therrien’s Court.

RW Max Pacioretty, 25, has 21 goals to lead Les Habitants, though he has only nine assists to go with those goals. It’s an unusual combo for Pacioretty, whose young career shows 89 goals and 94 assists thus far.

Pacioretty was born in New Canaan, CT and was Montreal’s 1st round pick (22nd overall) in the 2007 Entry Draft.

The goal scoring took a while, but for the Canadiens, it’s been worth the wait.

In his first 86 NHL games, Pacioretty scored just six goals. In 201 games since, he’s fired 83 goals into enemy nets.

There’s more to Pacioretty than just a sniper’s touch. He’s also a survivor.

In 2011, Pacioretty suffered a broken neck, but recovered and his determination resulted in Pacioretty winning the Bill Masterton Trophy following the 2011-12 season, which is given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to the sport of hockey.

Pacioretty is also a member of Team USA for the upcoming Olympics in Sochi.

He has local ties, too—playing one season for Red Berenson at the University of Michigan, racking up 39 points in 37 games in 2007-08.

In December, Pacioretty was the subject of trade talk, as word spread that the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers were interested in acquiring him and his $4.5 million/year salary, which is guaranteed thru 2019. Canadiens fans were opposed to the idea, overwhelmingly.

The only black mark on Pacioretty is that in last year’s playoffs, as the Canadiens were being stunningly KO’d by Ottawa in the first round in five games, Pacioretty went scoreless in four contests—big, fat goose eggs in both the goals and assists columns.

The Canadiens currently hold a playoff spot, so Pacioretty might get a chance to end his mini, four-game post-season scoreless streak this spring.

Pacioretty wears no. 67 for the Canadiens.