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Max Pacioretty is in the NHL because he can score goals, and over the past two seasons, he has put his fair share of pucks into the net.
In 2011-12, he scored 33 in 79 games. In last year's abbreviated season, he netted 15 in 44 contests. This year, he has 12 in 26 games.
When looked at as a whole, Pacioretty's stats look pretty good. But, as any Canadiens fan would tell you, he remains one of the most frustratingly inconsistent scorers in the league today.
Pacioretty has a terrible habit of simply disappearing on the ice for games at a time. To prove this, here's a look at his streaks so far in 2013-14 (he has missed nine games due to injury):
- Games 1-4: two goals.
- Games 5-12: zero goals.
- Games 13-21: nine goals.
- Games 22-26: one goal.
All NHL players, even the stars, go through slumps. Evgeni Malkin went 15 games without a goal this season.
But the best players battle through their slumps by doing other things right (Malkin had 14 assists over those 15 games). When Pacioretty isn't scoring, he's barely noticeable on the ice.
After his incredible hot streak through the end November and beginning of December, Pacioretty seems to have fallen back into one of his patented slumps. Over the past five games he has just one point (a goal) and has averaged just 2.4 shots per game. Not nearly enough for Montreal's best offensive option up front.
Pacioretty keeps showing Montreal flashes of what he's capable of but can't seem to find a way to sustain his production. Until he does, he'll remain simply a good goal scorer instead of a great one.