Coming into Boston’s Saturday matchup against Pittsburgh, David Pastrnak was in one of the worst stretches of his career. He had gone 5 straight games without scoring a goal and had just 1 assist over that time. You have to go back to the 2019 playoffs, when Pastrnak was hampered with a broken thumb, to find such a stretch.
David Pastrnak needed to get back to the basics
Also, the winger’s decision-making had been off as well. His attempted self-pass near 3 Penguins in the third period Thursday lead to a gift goal for Pittsburgh.
In the post-game press conference, Bruce Cassidy mentioned the importance of taking care of the puck on 4 occasions. It was clear Pastrnak was one of the players Cassidy felt needed to be more responsible with the rubber.
So, on a Saturday matinee against the Penguins again, Pastrnak was one of many Bruins that re-kindled their offensive fire-power.
Brad Marchand corralled a hat trick. Nick Ritchie picked up 2 helpers. David Krejci potted a power-play goal and grabbed his 500th career assist. But the story of the game was 88 in Black and Gold.
At the start of the second period, the Bruins set up a flurry of offensive chances. Patrice Bergeron buried a slot shot to tie the contest at 1-1. Pastrnak was then on the prowl for the lead.
Grimy goals and flashy finishes
On the next shift, the Bruins new second-line got the call. Krejci, Ritchie, and Pastrnak kept pressuring the Penguins in their own zone. Krejci’s attempt from the slot created a juicy rebound that Pastrnak promptly buried. Not only had he found the back of the for the first time since March 27th, but he went to the dirty area in front of the crease to get the goal.
A myriad of offensive finishes by both teams propelled the Bruins to a 5-4 advantage in the third. But Pittsburgh was sieging in Boston’s end. But Ritchie and Pastrnak combined to force a turnover by Michael Matheson at the Penguins blue-line. Ritchie made a great decision and play by feeding the puck to Pastrnak. He promptly roofed home the insurance goal, his 16th lamp-lighter of the campaign.
Late in the game, the Penguins pulled their goaltender, Casey DeSmith, from the contest. But Pastrnak picked Kris Letang’s pocket and appeared to have iced the game drawing a penalty staring down an open cage. Since no Penguin was in front of Pastrnak, the referrers should have awarded the winger a goal.
The refs gave Boston a power-play instead, robbing Pastrnak of his 11th career hat trick. While the game got dicey towards the end, Bruins should be excited to get the 2 points and their star winger back on track. It would not be surprising in the least if this contest propels Pastrnak on one of his notorious offensive tears.
Story by Chad Jones
Follow Chad on Twitter @shutupchadjones
Photo courtesy of MassLive