Before Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty became teammates in Las Vegas they were bitter rivals. Stone’s expressive personality and Pacioretty’s endless competitiveness were always going to clash when they opposed each other. But as teammates, it was as harmonious as could be, and from the very first day Stone put on a Golden Knights jersey he and Pacioretty were essentially unbreakable as a pair in the lineup.
Over the course of the next three and a half seasons, the two played together, often centered by either Paul Stastny or Chandler Stephenson, more than 150 times and shared the ice at 5-on-5 for almost 2,000 minutes.
In that time, they were dominant together. In 139 games since 2019, when Pacioretty and Stone were both on the ice, the Golden Knights outscored opponents 122-66 at even-strength, boasted a shot share just short of 60%, and absolutely dominated the expected goals margin despite often playing against the opposition’s top line.
On the power play, with Max and Mark together, Vegas averaged 9.36 goals per 60 minutes while allowing less than one per 60 (0.71 to be exact). Both of these numbers are miles better than what it looked like with neither on the ice. And with the empty net, the Golden Knights tallied 10 times in just under 40 minutes with 61 and 67 together.
Ok, now for the problem. When Pacioretty wasn’t there, Stone’s numbers tumbled, and tumbled hard.