NEWARK, N.J. — Max Pacioretty missed the Golden Knights game against New Jersey on Friday with a “minor injury” and was replaced in the lineup by Paul Stastny.
Seems straightforward enough, right? Well, not exactly.
To recap the events:
Pacioretty was an extra during line rushes at the Knights’ morning skate at Prudential Center and was not in his customary spot on the No. 1 power play when that unit got in some work at the end of the session.
Coach Gerard Gallant was asked afterward if there was something wrong with Pacioretty and he responded, “not that I know of.”
Let's clarify the Max Pacioretty situation:
1. I asked Gerard Gallant if there was something wrong with Max Pacioretty.
2. Gallant said "he's fine."
3. Golden Knights later said he has a "minor injury" and it's mgmt's decision to hold him out vs Devils.#VegasBorn pic.twitter.com/ynzs6qwHWs
— David Schoen 📰🗞🏒 (@DavidSchoenLVRJ) December 14, 2018
“There’s nothing wrong with Max,” Gallant went on to say. “We’ve got to scratch somebody tonight and we’ll decide tonight. … We’ll know before warmups. But he’s fine.”
The team later clarified Gallant’s comments, announcing Pacioretty is not 100 percent and was scratched as a precaution.
“He’s got a minor injury and we’re just going to be careful and make sure he only misses one (game) rather than make him go and potentially miss four or six or eight,” general manager George McPhee said. “I think (Gallant) this morning was just trying not to tip off the other team and let them know what our lineup was going to be.”
Pacioretty, who signed a four-year, $28 million extension after being acquired in a trade from Montreal on Sept. 10, missed the Knights’ win over Washington on Dec. 4 and told reporters the next day he “tweaked something.”
It’s unclear whether the latest setback is related to that injury.
Pacioretty has 16 points in his past 14 games, but hasn’t scored since netting two goals at Vancouver on Nov. 29. He failed to register a shot attempt in two of the past three games.
In 28 games, Pacioretty has 10 goals and 18 points to go with a minus-2 rating.
Oscar Lindberg took Pacioretty’s spot at left wing on the second line against the Devils, with Stastny at center and Alex Tuch on the right wing.
Stastny returned after he missed the past 30 games with a knee injury suffered Oct. 8 at Buffalo.
“I’m excited to be back,” Stastny said following the morning skate. “When you’re out for this long, I think you take for granted what you do and just to be healthy, just to be around the guys and to get back to doing what I love to do, obviously I’ll be anxious out there kind of leading up to the game. But it’s always like that, so I’m excited for that.”