RALEIGH, N.C. -- Montreal left wing Max Pacioretty was confident he can play for the U.S. in the Olympics after sustaining a lower-body injury against Carolina on Saturday night.
Pacioretty collided with the goal with 7:30 left in the first period after being checked by Carolina's Brett Bellemore in the teams' final game before the Olympic break.
After the game, Pacioretty said it was precautionary for him not to return.
"I went in pretty hard and I got the wind knocked out of me," said Pacioretty. " I think the team wanted to play it safe and I think it was a good decision."
A native of New Canaan, Conn., Pacioretty will leave for Sochi, Russia, on Sunday to join the American team, which opens play Thursday against Slovakia.
The 25-year-old Pacioretty has played 49 games this season. He has 26 goals and 11 assists. Pacioretty had his second hat trick of the season Thursday in a 5-2 win over Vancouver.