Last week was one of those weeks where it felt like Boston was the center of the NHL universe. We saw a huge trade and Linus Ullmark’s goalie goal, mixed in with that was an undefeated week for the Boston Bruins.
While Ullmark’s goal was the first in Bruins history and a great moment, it was more of a shiny object when it comes to player of the week consideration.
Instead, this week’s player of the week honor goes to the Bruins shiniest object, David Pastrnak.
A full helping of Pasta
Trader Donny’s Thursday afternoon extravaganza and Ullmark’s history-making goal overshadowed another strong week from Pastrnak. That and Pastrnak’s consistency have caused us to expect performances like he had last week, every week.
But Pastrnak continued to show why he deserves a blank check from Sweeney and the Bruins next season.
He led the team in goals last week with three and added an assist for a four-point week. He tied Brad Marchand and David Krejci for second on the Bruins in points with four; only Charlie McAvoy (who had five assists) had more points.
Pastrnak started the week scoring two important goals against one of the few teams that the Bruins have struggled with this season, the Ottawa Senators.
His first goal, the eventual game winner, was as casual as it was beautiful. After receiving an outrageous pass by McAvoy at the top of the left faceoff circle, Pastrnak calmly zipped a shot over the left shoulder of Kevin Mandolese.
It was like he was tossing a crumpled-up piece of paper into the office garbage can like he has 1000 times. The goal also helped him reach 40 for the third time in his career.
His 41st goal of the season came in the third period and added some insurance for the Bruins. This time another beautiful (or maybe lucky) McAvoy pass sprung Pastrnak on a breakaway. He then used a little shoulder fake to fold Mandolese into a pretzel before sliding the puck five hole.
Pastrnak’s final two points of the week came against the Seattle Kraken. First, he collected his own rebound and swung a pass to Pavel Zacha in front of the net, who found David Krejci for a game-tying one-timer.
Then, Pastrnak de-pantsed Kraken defender Adam Larsson to help the Bruins draw even for a second time.
Watching Pastrnak unleash his ability on opponents is always fun, but let’s not forget how timely all his points were this week. He scored the eventual game winner and an insurance goal against the only team to have beaten the Bruins twice this season, the Senators. Then he helped the Bruins keep pace with one of the other teams who have been a problem for Boston this season in the Kraken.
If it weren’t for Pastrnak, his team might have finished the week 1-2 rather than 3-0. Say what you want to about his penchant for turning the puck over, when he is scoring like this, and in such important moments, it’s easy to live with a bad habit like that.
Honorable Mention: Jake DeBrusk
This past week Jake DeBrusk continued to demonstrate why the Bruins are lucky they didn’t trade him last season.
He found the scoresheet three times, including scoring the first goal against Ottawa and the game winner against Seattle, but there were moments when he did something as simple as breaking the puck out of his own zone at a crucial moment that helped his case.
Both goals he scored this week highlighted a part of his game that is as valuable as his straight-ahead speed; his composure in front of opponents’ goals.
His goal against the Senators, where he pounced on his own rebound and quickly lifted the puck over Mandolese (far side, I might add), could be described as “classic DeBrusk.”
His ability to find a hole when standing nearly on top of an opposing goalie might be the best on the team. Many of his goals come when he’s down low, either standing on the goal line or just in front of the crease, which is exceedingly difficult when most goalies in the NHL are selected for their surface area (Mandolese is listed as 6’4).
His game winner against the Kraken also game in front of the net, this time on a deflection.
But even on a play where he didn’t score, DeBrusk positively affected the outcome of the Seattle game. Right after Brandon Carlo’s game-tying goal, the Kraken returned to their aggressive forecheck and had the Bruins hemmed in their zone again late in the third.
That’s when DeBrusk grabbed a deflected puck out of the air and single-handedly cleared his zone. After failing initially to clear the puck, DeBrusk won a puck battle with a Kraken defenseman and skated the puck through the neutral zone, eventually firing a shot on Phillip Grubauer, which he froze for an offensive zone faceoff for the Bruins. DeBrusk used his speed and tenacity to negate a Kraken threat and set the Bruins up in the Kraken zone.
DeBrusk helped win a board battle against the Vancouver Canucks as well, to set up Brad Marchand’s goal late in the first period.
It’s no wonder the Bruins’ worst stretch of the season (four losses in five games) came without DeBrusk in the lineup.
Ok and just for fun, as a thank you for reading this whole article, here you go:
Connor Clifton - 1
Taylor Hall - 1
Charlie McAvoy - 1
David Pastrnak - 1
Jeremy Swayman - 1
Linus Ullmark - 1