BOSTON - Never ending Pasta goals were in full effect on Thursday night, in front of the Bruins’ moms no less.
Hats rained down upon the ice at TD Garden after Pastrnak tapped home his third goal of the night to tie the game midway through the third period. Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit gave up a juicy rebound off of a short angle shot from a charging Jake DeBrusk. Krejci pounded on the loose puck, dishing it to his fellow countryman. Moments later, the TD Garden ice crew were shoveling hats off the ice.
“Yeah it’s nice obviously, with my mom here and my brother (to get the hat trick),” said Pastrnak. “It’s their last game for awhile so it’s always nice to have your family here. It’s good to get the wins.”
Pastrnak opened the Bruins scoring with a blast from the slot. Sean Kuraly won a battle down low, corralling the puck and pushing it across to Joakim Nordstrom. Nordstrom had the time and space necessary to pick his head up below the goal line, where he spotted number 88 patrolling the slot unmarked. The league’s leading goal scorer doesn’t miss opportunities like that.
Pastrnak’s second goal of the night occurred five seconds into the Bruins’ second power play opportunity. Bergeron won the faceoff, Krug walked the puck into the middle and Pasta uncorked an absolute missile, beating Brossoit glove side high and almost scorching the netting. Aside from Alexander Ovechkin, few can boast the success that Pastrnak has had from the left circle on the man advantage.
“Obviously I’m pretty confident,” said Pastrnak, on his shooting from the left circle. “For me, it’s just trying to get it past the first guy. I’ve been working on it every day in practice. Yeah, it’s been going well so far.”
The hat trick marked Pastrnak’s third of the season and seventh since the beginning of the 2018-19 season. In that time, no other player in the league has had more than four.
Not to be outdone, Jake DeBrusk potted two goals. Luca Sbisa miffed a dump-in attempt and DeBrusk pounced on the opportunity, knocking down the puck in the neutral zone and turning on the afterburners to leave the defense in the dust. He wristed one over Brossoit’s glove and #cellyszn was back on.
DeBrusk gave a fist pump powerful enough to galvanize the TD Garden crowd out of their seats and almost lift him off the ice after redirecting a Charlie McAvoy shot to give the Bruins their first lead of the contest and the eventual game winning goal.
“Just him putting a puck in an area and going to get it,” said Bruce Cassidy, on DeBrusk’s winning goal. “That’s what we need more out of with Jake. More second effort on pucks. That’s what we encourage Jake to do every night because he has the ability to do that. Build his game on the wall, build his defensive structure, good stick.”
Cassidy has been tough on DeBrusk of late, sitting him several times due to lackluster play. When DeBrusk helps aid the second line’s scoring, the Bruins come to life. The team relies on his finishing capabilities, as the black and gold are a team sorely in need of 5-on-5 scoring of late.
Torey Krug, who did not skate in the morning, did suit up for the contest. A notable absence was Zdeno Chara, who has been enduring pain in his (formerly wired-shut) jaw after fighting Nashville’s Vakov Trenin on Tuesday night.
“We talked this morning. He had a procedure the other day again on the surgery from last year in the playoffs, and there’s a little bit of pain involved there inside,” said Bruce Cassidy postgame. “He wanted to play, and I’ve got to tell you, myself and Donnie [Don Sweeney] kind of talked him out of it to be honest with you, because that is going to have to heal properly so he’s not going through it all the time. Now, what that timeline is, I don’t know, I think it’s short-term. So, we decided to shut Zee down tonight. Hopefully he is better for the road trip; that kind of calms down, but I guess we’ll get a better read tomorrow. I don’t know if he has a follow up appointment, but it’s been acting up on him a little bit, and he’s playing through a lot of pain right now.”
Jaroslav Halak made 17 saves on 21 shots. His ho-hum performance will be drowned out by the offensive outbreak, yet the Bruins appeared in trouble briefly after Mark Scheifele banked a puck off an out-of-position Halak’s back from the goal line to take the lead. All is well that ends well and Halak ultimately kept enough pucks out of the net to get the win.
The Bruins are back at it on Saturday, facing off against the New York Islanders.