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NHL NEWS – Stu Cowan: Canadiens’ Max Pacioretty is facing a month without a goal

August 22, 2019

Stu Cowan: Canadiens’ Max Pacioretty is facing a month without a goal That’s the situation captain Max Pacioretty will be facing Saturday night when the Canadiens play the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center (7 p. , CBC, CITY, TVA Sports, TSN Radio 690). Pacioretty’s last goal came on Nov. 30 in a 6-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings at the Bell Centre. Since then, the captain has gone 11 games without a goal and he has only one in the last 20. During those 20 games, Pacioretty has had 58 shots on goal for a 1.7 shooting percentage. Ugly. That’s also a good word to describe the Canadiens’ season with a 16-18-4 record after three straight losses during which they have scored a total of three goals. The Canadiens now rank 27th in the overall NHL standings ahead of only Detroit, Ottawa, Buffalo and Arizona. When Marc Bergevin took over as Canadiens GM in May 2012, the Canadiens were coming off a season in which they finished 28th overall. Year 6 of the GM’s five-year plan has been a disaster so far and Pacioretty hasn’t been helping. Back home in frozen Montreal on Friday, someone put a bag with a Canadiens logo on it over the head of Jean Béliveau’s statue outside the Bell Centre. You could say Pacioretty has been shooting the puck for the last month like he had a bag over his head — unable to find the back of the net after four straight 30-goal seasons. “I’ve never dealt with this before, so I have to just keep working hard and work my way through it because, like I said, I’ve never been through this before,” Pacioretty said after the Canadiens practised Friday afternoon at the Panthers Ice Den, where it was sunny outside and 26C. “The only way I’m going to get out of it is through hard work and doing the right things.”. Pacioretty raised some eyebrows after the Canadiens’ 3-1 loss in Carolina on Wednesday night when he said he didn’t know if the team’s problems on offence were because of the players or the system. On Friday, Pacioretty said he had spoken a lot with head coach Claude Julien in the two days since then. “Before, I was kind of searching and wondering, but there’s been a lot explanation and there’s been a lot of insight as to how our team has had success both last year and earlier this year, and you saw in practice there,” Pacioretty said. Much of Friday’s practice was focused on attacking offensively as a five-man unit. “It’s good,” Pacioretty said about his communication with Julien. “The past couple of days it’s been very good and that helps a lot. So I like where we’re at right now in terms of talking to each other and communication.”. Julien spoke Friday about the scoring chances Pacioretty has had in recent games, noting the captain was robbed by Canucks goalie Anders Nilsson in Vancouver, had a goal called back in Calgary because of a “disputable” offside, and was stopped on a short-handed breakaway in Carolina by goalie Cam Ward. “The chances are there for him,” Julien said. “I think the frustration’s also there for him because they’re not going in. But if all three of those are in, he’s got three goals in his last (five) games, so we wouldn’t be saying that same thing. So the margin of error is pretty thin in that case. So for me, it’s about making him realize that some chances are there, at the same time trying to help him getting in areas and positions where he can get more of those. Working together with the guy. “I don’t care if he’s got a C or he’s got no letter,” the coach added. “That weighs on anybody. And that kind of stuff is something that happens through the course of seasons with different teams. We played a team last night (a 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning) that’s unbelievable. Last year, they couldn’t make the playoffs. A lot of those guys were in the same boat. You got different challenges in different types of years. You just got to battle through it … find a way to make it happen. You don’t find excuses, you try and find solutions, and that’s what we’re trying to find here with a lot of players that haven’t been scoring lately.”. Said Pacioretty: “I’m just trying to do what I can to help the team win. I know my production hasn’t been there, so I have to find a way to get it and help the team win. Chances are tough to come by right now, but I think I’ve had some Grade As that with some confidence it goes in or even some luck. But that’s the way it goes sometimes. They come in bunches and I’m hoping to get one to jump-start it.”. Saturday night would be a good time to get one.

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