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Pacioretty quietly establishing himself as a top-tier scorer

Apr 5, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 22: Max Pacioretty #67 of the Montreal Canadiens skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on March 22, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Canadiens defeated the Leafs 4-3. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Ottawa Senators took a 3-0 lead against Montreal last night, but ended up getting blown away by the Canadiens. The reason for the dramatic reversal of fortunes was Max Pacioretty.

He had a five-point night, including a hat trick, to lead Montreal to a 7-4 victory.

“He’s an animal,” teammate David Desharnais declared to TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie.

Friday was the most productive night of Pacioretty’s career from a points perspective, but he’s been the difference for Montreal many times over the last three seasons.

The 25-year-old might not be a household name, but he is nevertheless one of the best snipers in the league today. Since the start of the 2011-12 campaign, Pacioretty ranks fifth in the NHL with 86 goals in 192 games, behind just Corey Perry, Phil Kessel, Steven Stamkos, and Alex Ovechkin.

Not bad for a guy that comes with a $4.5 million cap hit through the 2018-19 campaign.

What’s more, he’s only been getting better lately. He leads the league in goals since his previous hat trick on Nov. 19, according to RDS’ Francois Gagnon.

Overall he now ranks fourth with 38 goals and a league-leading 11 of them have been game winners. For all that success though, he has no points in four career postseason games. If he can carry this momentum into the 2014 playoffs, then it won’t be long before hockey fans outside of Montreal start holding him in much higher regard.

  1. cjnbsc - Apr 5, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    Max is a great example of being patient on a young player and not overreacting to the first sign of controversy.

    He struggled early in his career with being consistent and eventually landed down in the AHL. At the time ppl started to use the word “bust”, and it only got worse when he made comments about preferring to stay in Hamilton over riding the bench in Montreal.

    However the team didn’t overreact to the slight (as everything with the Habs it was largely media overblown).

    They are now reaping the benefits.

    (Too bad they DID overreact to McDonough’s development ). 😦

    • 7mantel - Apr 5, 2014 at 12:56 PM

      Too bad they DID overreact to McDonough’s development ).NYR fans are happy they did!

  2. bruinpred - Apr 5, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    Both Max and his Mom think Chara was mean to him.

    • killerpgh - Apr 5, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      Surprised it took 30 minutes for some meathead Masshole to make a stupid comment about Max P.

  3. withseidelinn - Apr 5, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    I really hate this guy cus he is a Hab, but damn I would love to have him on my team. Big bodied, absolute laser of a shot. Essentially Rick Nash, but you know, good.

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