Max Pacioretty turns a hat trick in a Montreal Canadiens comeback

Max Pacioretty has followed a seven-game slump with a seven-game streak, and the timing couldn’t be better for the Montreal Canadiens as they prepare to face the Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 1 of the playoffs.

After a season-high seven-game scoreless streak in March, Max Pacioretty is back in a big way in April.

In the seven games since that slump, Pacioretty now has eight goals and 11 points after his hat trick and five-point game against the Ottawa Senators Friday night. It’s his third hat trick and 10th multi-goal game of the season.

Some of the credit for Pacioretty’s return to form goes to new linemate Thomas Vanek. Since being paired together, the wingers have clicked alongside center David Desharnaris to give the Canadiens a legitimate, top-flight No. 1 line instead of the 1A-1B rotation they’ve alternated throughout most of the season. Desharnais isn’t a prototypical No. 1 center, but he hardly has to be with Pacioretty and Vanek flanking him.

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Pacioretty now has a career-high 38 goals and has a shot of hitting 40 with four games remaining in the regular season. He almost certainly would have already if he hadn’t missed nine games this season.

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