Pacioretty was awarded two penalty shots in a two-minute span in the second period, becoming the second player in NHL to be awarded two in the same period.
To get the first penalty shot, Pacioretty was hooked on a breakaway by recently-acquired defenseman Raphael Diaz at 11:47. After the referee pointed to center ice, the Canadiens‘ leading goal-scorer shot high and wide.
“I thought a little bit too much before the shot,” said Pacioretty, who had already scored Montreal’s first goal earlier in the game. “That didn’t help me.”
Less than two minutes later, Alexandre Burrows took Pacioretty down on another breakaway, and the decision on the ice was the same.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Pacioretty said. “I was just trying to catch my breath, wipe down my visor, buy myself a little extra time. That’s the last thing I would expect to happen so quickly after my first one.”
This time, Pacioretty lost control of the puck, bobbled it, and then took a weak backhand shot on Roberto Luongo, who made the pad save.
Pacioretty has taken three penalty shots in his career. The other was Oct. 12, 2013, in Vancouver. Luongo, who made 25 saves on Thursday, stop him that time, too.
“He’s a big goalie, he’s a good goalie,” Pacioretty said. “When it comes to penalty shots, he’s in my head.”
Despite missing both, Montreal’s leading scorer became the first Canadiens player to take two penalty shots in the same game.
Pacioretty redeemed himself at the start of the third, beating Luongo glove-side for his second of the game, the game-winner, and team-leading 25th goal of the season. He also added an empty-netter for his second hat trick of the season.
“He stuck with it,” teammate P.K. Subban said. “It says a lot about his character. It’s tough, especially for a guy like him who wants to score so badly. He scored two goals afterward. It shows how mentally tough he is and determined he is. Kudos to him.”
Chris Higgins and Alexander Edler scored for Vancouver.