January 25 against the Carolina Hurricanes was quite the night at the Bell Centre for both good and bad reasons alike. The Canadiens put themselves in 2-0, 4-2, and 5-4 deficits over the course of the game. They, however, also battled back against the Hurricanes every time they fell into a hole and it created arguably one of the most exciting games of the year.
After giving up a late second period goal, not long after tying the game 4-4, the Canadiens needed to dig deep and find a breakthrough one more time. With Jordan Staal in the box on a tripping penalty the Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty would give them just that.
49:31 - Max Pacioretty (Jeff Petry, Jonathan Drouin) PPG vs. Carolina
Jonathan Drouin ties up the face off, and Pacioretty helps to direct the puck back to Jeff Petry at the point. As Petry walks along the blue line, Pacioretty makes it clear with his stick that the lane for a redirection is open. Petry obliges, firing a low shot towards Cam Ward that Pacioretty is able to easily deflect in the high slot as Brendan Gallagher screens Ward.
It shows that Pacioretty is capable of much more than just wiring pucks in with his wrist shot. He recognizes that he’s in a soft spot in the defence, and in perfect position for a redirection attempt from the blue line. These are spots where he proves his versatility. He’s not just an option for a one timer, or just a net front guy. He can play any of the roles on the power play as needed, and that’s something this team needed more of last year.