In the Habs' room: Pacioretty feels better, will play in Sochi
Team ‘responded the right way’ to distractions, Therrien says
Carolina Hurricanes’ Riley Nash (20) tries to score as Montreal Canadiens Andrei Markov (79), of Russia, and goalie Carey Price defend during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014. Montreal won 4-1.
Photograph by: Gerry Broome, AP
RALEIGH, N.C. — David Desharnais is known for his pinpoint passes but he said he had to adopt a new role after his longtime friend and linemate Max Pacioretty was injured in the first period of Saturday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
“(Pacioretty) is a big part of our offence when he’s shooting the puck and when he’s not there, somebody has to pick it up,” said Desharnais, who scored twice in the Canadiens’ 4-1 win at PNC Arena. “I had some nice setups. I do it quite often but it’s nice to be on the receiving end.”
Rene Bourque set up Desharnais for the Canadiens’ first goal and Brendan Gallagher collected the second of his two assists on Desharnais’s second goal, which put Montreal ahead 3-1.
“We were facing a lot of distractions, all 30 teams were, and we responded the right way,” said coach Michel Therrien, whose team went into the break with three consecutive wins. “We had a lot of leadership and we needed everyone to step up, not just two or three players, but we started our comeback when (Desharnais) scored that first goal.”
“Davey’s a big part of our team,” said goaltender Carey Price, who stopped 31 shots. “He’s a quiet leader and he stepped up tonight.”
“There was no panic,” Desharnais said. “We scored two goals in the second and added two more in the third. We had a little slump a few weeks ago and we wanted to get out of it and we needed these three wins to stay up in the standings.”
The Canadiens remained in third place in the Atlantic Division with 70 points, one back of Tampa Bay. Toronto also has 70 points but has played one more game. Montreal and Toronto also moved six points clear of fifth-place Detroit.
The Canadiens were being outplayed by a wide margin in the second period before Desharnais scored at 17:52. The injury to Pacioretty may have taken some of the wind out of the Canadiens’ sails but it definitely took the wind away from Pacioretty.
“I had trouble catching my breath,” said Pacioretty, who was driving to the net when he was shoved by Carolina’s Brett Bellemore. He hit a goalpost and had to be helped from the ice.
“It’s a play I make often,” Pacioretty said. “I went in a little awkwardly and I dinged my arm and my hip but I feel good now.”
Pacioretty admitted that his first thought was that the injury would torpedo his chances of representing the U.S. in Sochi.
“I was very worried at first,” he said. “It was tough to breathe and I was having back spasms but I had x-rays and there was nothing broken. I had some treatments while the game was going on and I feel better, I was in a lot of pain but I could tell it was more muscular. I don’t feel that bad right now and I have a couple of days before we start playing in Sochi.”
Therrien said also thought of Sochi when he saw Pacioretty hit the post.
“I was hoping that it was not a big injury because you want your players to participate (in the Olympics),” Therrien said.
“It was scary for him and it would have been terrible if he missed the Olympics,” said Price, who has been polishing his credentials as the No. 1 goalie for Team Canada. He is 4-1-1 in his last six starts and he has allowed only seven goals on 210 shots for a save percentage of .967.
“I think confidence is a big part and it was definitely important to play well going into the break,” said Price. He said he hadn’t started thinking about Sochi but that process would probably begin when he boarded a charter flight to Russia on Sunday.
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette