Max Pacioretty did his best William Tell impression Monday against the Los Angeles Kings.
His stick and the puck were the bow and arrow. Mark Stone was the poor guy with the apple on his head providing a screen in front of Kings goaltender Cal Petersen on the power play. As Pacioretty curled toward the top of the left circle, Stone could only hope his teammate’s sharp wrist shot — one of the hardest in the NHL — would miss him and find the back of the net instead. Or at least hit Petersen.
Stone didn’t need to worry. Pacioretty completed his Tell imitation by firing his lethal snap shot by Stone, by Petersen and into the top of the net for the 300th goal of his career. It was another example of how he became the 23rd American player to reach that milestone.
Power. Precision. Pacioretty has it all, and it’s why he’s one of the NHL’s premier goal scorers.
“You see on that goal, he tells me, ‘Just park it in front and I won’t hit you.’” Stone said. “It’s scary sometimes, but he doesn’t hit me.”
Pacioretty’s accomplishments are almost too numerous to list.
He ranks sixth in goals among active American players and is the third-fastest among that group to reach 300. He did it in 802 games, behind Minnesota’s Zach Parise (767) and Chicago’s Patrick Kane (775).
Pacioretty is also 13th among Americans in game-winning goals with 60 and first in overtime goals with 16.
He scored 226 goals with one of the NHL’s premier franchises in Montreal and has scored 74 since coming to the Knights. He’s tied for seventh in the NHL with 20 goals this season, giving him the eighth 20-goal season of his career.
“(He’s) probably the best goal scorer I’m ever going to play with,” Stone said. “When you give him just a little bit of an opportunity to score, he generally puts the puck in the back of the net.”
Pacioretty proved his worth again Monday. He said Stone’s screen made his goal much easier, but there are few players who can score from distance as he can. It’s what makes him special. It’s why he’s the NHL’s William Tell.
”It was a great screen,” Pacioretty said. “Something we’ve been working at a lot and harping at a lot on the power play. Hopefully we can get rolling now.”
Here are three more takeaways from the win:
1. Roy scores
Fourth-line center Nicolas Roy scored the Knights’ first goal with 5:40 left in the second period, giving him four points in his last five games. He had five points in his first 38 games.
The recent hot streak has coincided with a move back to center after spending most of the season at right wing. But coach Pete DeBoer thinks Roy’s turnaround goes beyond a position switch.
“He’s back to playing and looking like he should look,” DeBoer said. “He’s attacking. He’s not overthinking situations. He’s being aggressive and making aggressive decisions out there. Using his body and his size and getting rewarded for it. It’s nice to see because he spun his tires for a while.”
2. Goodbye, Lady Byng
The game featured a strange sight 5:34 into the third period: William Karlsson in the penalty box.
The Knights center was called for his first penalty of the season for hooking Kings defenseman Olli Maatta. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury even had more penalty minutes (two) than Karlsson entering the game.
The only players who have appeared for the Knights and not been called for a penalty are forward Tomas Jurco, who made his second appearance Monday, and goaltenders Robin Lehner, Oscar Dansk and Logan Thompson.
3. Coghlan’s night
Rookie Dylan Coghlan followed in former Knight Jon Merrill’s footsteps by becoming the rare defenseman to fill in at forward for the franchise.
Coghlan played fourth-line right wing for two periods before shifting back to defense. He held his own in both roles, and the Knights finished with a 7-3 edge in scoring chances when he was on the ice at five-on-five.