Pacioretty busts out in Habs win over Wild
By Sean Farrell, The Sports Xchange
Minnesota 2 Montreal 6
MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens left winger Max Pacioretty and center David Desharnais both needed to start producing offensively, and coach Michel Therrien's decision to line them up with right winger Brendan Gallagher proved to be just the ticket.
Pacioretty scored three straight goals in the second period and Canadiens goaltender Carey Price made 25 saves in a 6-2 win Tuesday night that ended the Minnesota Wild's four-game winning streak.
Pacioretty, who entered with two goals in 12 games, opened the scoring 2:57 into the second period with his first tally since Oct. 12. Desharnais, who had no goals and one assist in his first 19 games of the season, picked up his second straight assist on Pacioretty's second goal at 10:06.
"Davy and I had a lot to prove and Gally makes every line go, so they put him on our line to get us going and it worked," said Pacioretty, who turns 25 on Wednesday.
Gallagher also assisted on Pacioretty's second of the game, though he denied he produced the spark that broke his linemates out of their respective scoring slumps.
"Don't be giving me credit for that, those two guys played awesome," Gallagher said. "You see the plays Davy makes, and Patch, when he gets the puck on his stick he's going to score so hopefully this is a step in the right direction."
Defenseman P.K. Subban got his second assist at 13:36 when Pacioretty completed his natural hat trick and made it 3-0 with a power-play goal that chased Minnesota goalie Josh Harding from the net.
Left winger Michael Bournival scored Montreal's fourth goal of the period at 16:16 on the first and only shot Wild backup goalie Darcy Kuemper faced in the second.
Center Daniel Briere made it 5-0 with his third goal on the Canadiens' next shot on Kuemper 4:42 into the third.
Minnesota right winger Nino Niederreiter spoiled Price's shutout bid with his fourth goal at 5:30, but Canadiens left winger Alex Galchenyuk restored Montreal's five-goal lead with the Canadiens' second power-play goal at 7:59.
Wild left winger Dany Heatley scored a power-play goal at 19:58 of the third to close out the scoring.
Minnesota began a four-game road trip that continues Wednesday in Ottawa.
"The only good thing is that we have a game (Wednesday) and we have a chance to come back and play better," said center Mikko Koivu, who is Minnesota's captain.
The Wild earned points in 12 of their past 13 games (10-1-2), including each of their previous eight games.
"Hopefully we're a little ticked off," Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. "We've been on a good stretch here but there's no need for us to sit here and look back on that and to feel too good about that. What's important is good teams respond, so we have to make sure we respond with a good effort (Wednesday)."
Montreal is on a 3-1-1 run, including a 1-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday, following a four-game winless skid.
"Obviously we talk about Max, and Davy had the big night, but every line chipped in, every line played extremely well," Briere said. "It's a good feeling for everybody to be able to look back and know that we all chipped in, we all had a hand in it.
"Lately, it's been a little tough finding ways to score a goal. To have a big night like that, hopefully the confidence will kick in and stay with us for a little while."
Pacioretty's opening goal early in the second period was the Canadiens' first in 120:23, going back to forward Lars Eller's power-play goal in the second period of a 3-2 shootout win Friday in Columbus.
Harding, who was named the NHL's Third Star of the Week on Monday, stopped 16 of 19 shots. Kuemper made six saves.
"We got beaten in every aspect and obviously I wasn't very good there in the second," said Harding, who allowed more than two goals for only the second time this season. "It's just one game. That's how we've got to look at it. We've got another game (Wednesday) and as a group, we need to rebound."
NOTES: Wild D Matt Dumba was left out of the lineup for the seventh time in the past nine games. Dumba, who had 11:41 of ice time in the Wild's 2-1 win against Winnipeg on Sunday, was selected seventh overall by Minnesota in the first round of the 2012 draft. The 19-year-old rookie has one goal and one assist in 11 games. ... Wild backup G Darcy Kuemper was recalled from AHL Iowa on Monday. His only previous game with Minnesota this season was a start Oct. 15 in Toronto. Kuemper was pulled at 12:23 of the second after allowing his third goal on seven shots in a 4-1 loss to the Maple Leafs. ... Canadiens LW Rene Bourque missed a game for the first time this season because of a lower-body injury. He has five goals and one assist in 21 games. ... Montreal had no hat tricks last season. Erik Cole had the Canadiens' previous three-goal game March 23, 2012, in a 5-1 win against Ottawa.