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David Pastrnak is off to the best goal-scoring start in modern Boston Bruins history

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You knew the Czech kid was off to a good start, but you may not have realized just how good.

Boston Bruins v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Saturday’s win over the Arizona Coyotes marked the Bruins’ 20th game of the 2018-2019 campaign, meaning we’re essentially 25% through the schedule.

While the team isn’t exactly blowing the doors off the league at 11-6-3, one player is off to a remarkable start: David Pastrnak.

Through 20 games, Pastrnak has recorded 17 goals and 8 assists, good for 25 points. If he were to score at that pace for the rest of the season, he’d be looking at around 103 points at season’s end.

Pastrnak remains the NHL’s leading goalscorer as of this morning, three goals ahead of Brayden Point and Jeff Skinner (excluding Monday night’s results).

To put it plainly: he’s had an amazing quarter-season. You knew that.

What you may not have known, however, is just how amazing these 20 games have been. In fact, David Pastrnak is off to the best goal-scoring start in the modern history of the Boston Bruins franchise.

Yes, it’s true: you’re not just witnessing a hot start: you’re witnessing history.

Per HockeyReference, here are the best scoring starts in franchise history (thanks to Chris for the help puzzling these filters out), with a caveat:

Bruins Quarter-Season Scoring Records (Team’s First 20 GP)

Player Goals EV PP Season
Player Goals EV PP Season
David Pastrnak 17 9 8 2019
Cam Neely 14 6 8 1990
Cam Neely 14 11 3 1994
Cam Neely 13 4 9 1995
Dmitri Kvartalnov 13 7 6 1993
Dave Andreychuk 13 6 7 2000
Tyler Seguin 12 10 2 2012
Cam Neely 12 8 4 1988
Vladimir Ruzicka 11 7 4 1972
David Pastrnak 11 7 4 2017

The caveat: the HockeyReference link says the data for that table only goes back to 1987; however, doing a similar query going back to 1917 produces the same results. I asked HockeyReference for Bruins who scored 17 goals in 20 or fewer games played, and it only returned a single name.

As tlndma pointed out in the comments, at least one season by Phil Esposito seems like it should be on any list like this. For that reason, we’ll revise the time frame to “modern” Bruins history, i.e. as far back as HockeyReference has data.

Two things jump out here:

  • David Pastrnak is a record-holder.
  • Cam Neely was really, really good.

It’s also worth noting that Pastrnak’s hot start has him chasing the modern NHL record book as well.

Players have scored 18+ goals in their team’s first 20 games a total of 17 times in modern league history, with Bernie Nicholls holding the record at 23 goals.

“17-in-20” starts like Pastrnak’s have happened 14 times. The most recent was Nikita Kucherov last season; before that, it was Alex Steen in 2014.

It’s worth noting, however, that both Kucherov and Steen got their goals in considerably more ice time than Pastrnak. Kucherov got his 17 in 414 minutes, while Steen’s 17 came in 410 minutes.

Thus far this season, Pastrnak has played 380 minutes, almost two full periods less than the two guys mentioned above.


Whether or not Pastrnak’s run is sustainable remains to be seen. He’s currently shooting at 21%, well above his career average of right around 14%. His PDO of 102.3 signals he may be due for a bit of a slowdown as well.

Right now, it’s best to just enjoy the ride. No modern-era Bruin has scored more goals in the team’s opening quarter-season stretch than Pastrnak.

25 could be a few weeks away. 40 seems within reach. Dare we dream of 50?

We’ll see. But it’s sure been fun to watch so far.