Max Pacioretty dominant in first game back from injury

Max Pacioretty dominant in first game back from injury

In his first game as the captain of the Montreal Canadiens, and returning from a broken tibia that kept him out of action for the previous 12 weeks, Max Pacioretty’s timing was a bit off when it came to shooting, but he was a force to be reckoned with nonetheless.

Playing just 15:29 overall, and 11:52 at even strength, Pacioretty led the entire team in controlled zone entries with nine, two more than Alexander Semin, who was also strong against the Ottawa Senators.

It wasn’t just zone entries though, Pacioretty’s transitional play was off the charts. We’ve talked about possession driving plays before, but to reiterate, possession driving plays are plays that move the puck into the offensive zone, meaning controlled exits from the defensive zone, controlled entries into the offensive zone, crossing centre ice with the puck, successful outlet passes, successful stretch passes, and successful North, East, or West passes in the neutral zone. Now look at Pacioretty’s performance against the Senators.

Pacioretty preseason

Obviously we’re only talking about a single game here, it doesn’t have any predictive value for what Pacioretty is going to do going forward, but it does to a good job of showing how involved he was in the game, and how much he was driving possession.

We can go one step further to look at where Pacioretty was driving play in all situations, and how often his plays were broken up, which are represented by transparent points (Note that the above graph is only counting successful plays).

Pacioretty possession driving plays

Pacioretty’s biggest play driving ability comes from his skating, which he used for a ridiculous 27 line carries. Of all Pacioretty’s possession driving plays, only three were broken up by his opponents, which is pretty impressive for a first game back, preseason or no.

While not indicative of the kind of performance you can expect from Pacioretty each night, his first game back in the lineup shows how important he is to the Canadiens transition play. Considering Pacioretty is recovering from a knee injury, there really couldn’t have been a stronger sign that he’s ready to go when the puck drops on the regular season.

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1 Comment

  • Busverpasser Oct 02, 2015 Reply

    Hey guys,

    I really like your site and regularly read articles. It seems to me that you put a lot of effort into them and all of those that I have read so far are really interesting to read.

    Sometimes, I get the feeling though, that you could give even more information to make the articles a little deeper. For example, you provided the information that most of Pacioretty’s driving ability comes from his skating. In order to put the 27 line carries into perspective it would be great if you could give some context as to how many line carries are team or league average as this seems to be data that can not be easily retrieved from NHL.com’s stats.

    Keep up the great work!
    Best regards from Germany

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