From frustrated healthy scratch to one of the NHL’s hottest scorers, it’s been quite the season for Panthers forward Brandon Pirri.
Tuesday against Montreal, Pirri scored his 13th goal in his last 18 games, and the seventh goal in the nine games he’s played since returning from a shoulder injury.
Oh, and in case you assumed he’s just on one of those unsustainable hot streaks where every shot goes in, think again. The 23-year-old finished the Montreal game with 10 shots, and he has a whopping 41 shots in his last nine games combined. That’s almost five shots per game.
“The coaches have put me in a position to produce,” Pirri said, per NHL.com. “I’ve got to prove them right by doing that, and also if I’m not producing I’m not going to be doing my part for the team to make the playoffs. It’s just a matter that my teammates are setting me up well lately, and for me it’s just trying to shoot everything.”
Pirri, a former Blackhawks prospect who was traded to the Panthers a year ago, was one of the AHL’s top scorers when he was in the Chicago organization. But with all the offensive talent already on the ‘Hawks, he never could crack the roster on a regular basis. In Florida, he’s been given that chance.
“He’s around the puck and he’s a goal-scorer,” Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. “You can’t teach that stuff. That’s the way he’s played his whole career. When he gets opportunities, he makes the most of them. The goal the other night (against the New York Rangers) was just a quick shot, quick release. That’s what it’s all about: Put pucks at the net, and he likes to shoot the puck.”