When Max Pacioretty left the game in the first period against the Hurricanes last night, people feared not only for Pacioretty’s trip to the Olympics but for the impact he would have on the team, specifically on his line with Desharnais and Brendan Gallagher.
People think that Pacioretty is the only reason Desharnais was successful, but with his two goals surprised a lot of people that he can score without the help of his elite teammate. But, I think the real revelation was the play of Rene Bourque on that line.
Bourque had been playing better and with the opportunity, really ran with it. He drove to the net (not Gallagher-like, but still) and made a couple of nice passes to Desharnais who wasn’t afraid to shoot the puck without Pacioretty on the ice with him.
Luckily, Pacioretty was fine and dealing just with some back spasms. He did take the scheduled trip to Sochi and you can’t imagine he would have done that without the full support of Canadiens team doctors. This is good news for Max, who most Canadiens fans feel he really deserves to go and show what he can do on the world stage.
Pacioretty is under-appreciated by most people in hockey, especially some Canadiens fans. Most people think that Desharnais is the straw that stirs the drink but it is most definitely Pacioretty which is what makes Desharnais’s performance so encouraging.
None of the team really had a great Corsi day, but Desharnais actually improved with Bourque than when he was with Pacioretty. Now it’s a small sample, but Bourque was actually positive possession-wise compared with the rest of the team.
It wasn’t pretty but a win is a win and the Canadiens have won three straight games and now have two weeks to think about what they have done.