When Max Pacioretty was taken 22nd overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, nobody could’ve predicted that he would become one of the NHL’s top power forwards. Initially projected as more of a grinder, Pacioretty was viewed as a potential 3rd liner in the NHL before making the jump to the big leagues. This was for good reason, as he had never surpassed the 30 goal mark in the NCAA or AHL.
Luckily for the Canadiens, his doubters were wrong. Through hard work and dedication he’s blossomed into one of the best pure goal scorers in the game today. This has resulted in Pacioretty reaching the 100 goal plateau in the NHL, as he reached the milestone last night against the Buffalo Sabres.
In honour of Pacioretty scoring his 100th goal, here’s a list I’ve put together of his 5 best goals in the NHL thus far:
5. Max Pacioretty’s Power Play Rocket – 2/18/2013
In recent years one of Montreal’s biggest strengths has been its power play, and Pacioretty shows here why he’s been a major part of that. After a beautiful passing sequence between Andrei Markov and P.K. Subban, Pacioretty feeds David Desharnais before getting it back for a one timer, that he absolutely wires past Marc-Andre Fleury.
On display here is the outstanding chemistry between Pacioretty and Desharnais, which is something the two have been building since their time together in the AHL with the Hamilton Bulldogs.
4. One Timer Off the Post and In – 12/10/2011
I love this goal because it shows how powerful Pacioretty’s shot is (I re-watched this clip 6 times and tried to follow the puck after it leaves his stick, and I couldn’t). It also brings back memories of Pacioretty’s outstanding 2011-12 campaign. That season was by far the worst I’ve seen from Montreal in my lifetime, but Pacioretty was the lone bright spot on the team. He helped remind fans that the Canadiens had a bright future ahead of them, as he went on to score 33 goals that year, helping him capture the 2011-12 Bill Masterton Trophy.
As great as Pacioretty has looked alongside David Desharnais over the years, it was a treat to watch him play alongside Erik Cole, who set him up for this goal here. The two power forwards had incredible chemistry, and it’s a shame we weren’t able to see more of them together (despite Cole’s terrible contract).
3. Top Shelf, Short Side – 2/27/2013
Pacioretty had an excellent stretch in late February of the lockout shortened season, scoring 6 goals in 6 games, which earned him the NHL’s first star of the week honours. Of all of those goals, this was his prettiest. Showing why he has one of the best shots in the NHL, he rifles a beautiful wrist shot past Ben Scrivens high, short side. I honestly don’t think there is anything Scrivens could’ve done to stop his shot there.
2. Spin-O-Rama – 3/1/2014
The 96th goal of Pacioretty’s career was simply outstanding, and it impresses me more and more every time I watch it. After calling for a pass from Josh Gorges, Pacioretty receives the puck on his forehand in the slot, and looks as if he’s going to take a wrist shot. However, Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf immediately challenges him, taking away the potential shot. Instead of panicking or getting checked, Pacioretty instantly spins to his backhand and rips the puck off the post and past Jonathan Bernier for a goal. There are few players in the NHL that can pull of a move like that and score, which is a testament to Pacioretty’s talent.
1. OT Winner Against Boston – 1/8/2011
Although this may not look like Pacioretty’s nicest goal on paper, you’ll understand why it’s at the top of this list if you’re a Habs fan. Pacioretty’s 3rd goal of 2010-11 was the most memorable Canadiens goal of that season, and it set him ablaze during his breakout year. Then head coach Jacques Martin recognized Pacioretty’s scoring touch after this goal, and started playing him at left wing on Montreal’s second line. This ended up paying dividends for the Canadiens, as Pacioretty ended up scoring 11 goals over his next 2 months with the team, doubling his previous career output (he only had 6 goals coming into that season).
What makes this goal so memorable is the nature in which it was scored. The Canadiens were playing against their arch nemesis Boston, and with Pacioretty’s goal in the dying minutes of overtime, they were able to surpass the Bruins for first place in the Northeast Divison. Pacioretty’s celebration here is awesome as well, seen at 1:59 of the video. Pacioretty lightly pushes Bruins captain Zdeno Chara out of his way after scoring to essentially say “go home,” following the Canadiens win at the Bell Centre. Pacioretty shows here that he isn’t afraid to show some emotion after scoring in a big moment, regardless of what others may think.
Chara didn’t take to kindly to this, which has led to a career long tension between the two players. This includes the infamous stanchion hit, which left Pacioretty with a concussion and a fractured vertebra. Chara claims ramming Pacioretty into the stanchion “wasn’t his intention,” but I’m not sure if I believe him (although I don’t believe the Montreal police needed to be sent after him either). Regardless of your opinion on the matter, that’s another story for another day.
Which of Max Pacioretty’s 100 goals is your favourite? Would you change anything from this list? Did you find my reference to The Simpsons in the article? Let me know in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter: @jordanparhar.