Young, fearless McAvoy, Pastrnak make Bruins ‘more energetic’

Young, fearless McAvoy, Pastrnak make Bruins ‘more energetic’

OTTAWA – Sometimes having too many young guys making their first Stanley Cup playoff experience at the same time can put a team at a disadvantage, but sometimes that youthful, enthusiastic spark can bring that certain something. 

In the Game 1 win for the Bruins over the Senators, the B’s had two big pieces of their future, 19-year-old Charlie McAvoy and 20-year-old David Pastrnak, bring their considerable talent to the table and give Boston’s established core group an enormous lift in a giant road playoff victory to essentially give the B’s home-ice advantage in the best-of-seven series.  

McAvoy played 24-plus minutes of quality puck-moving service while finishing second on the team behind Zdeno Chara in ice time. Pastrnak led the B’s with eight shot attempts while picking up an assist on the game-winning goal late in the third period. 


They both certainly didn’t seem nervous, even if Pastrnak missed on a couple of pretty good scoring chances earlier in his first NHL playoff game, and they added a missing element to a veteran group that showed up in a big way for the first postseason contest at the Canadian Tire Centre.

Sens hit man defenseman Mark Borowiecki even took a run at McAvoy midway through the first period with a big hit in open ice, but the 6-foot-1, 210-pound D-man brushed it off and kept right on lugging pucks and snapping off pinpoint first passes. 

“Those are the guys you want in the lineup, the ones that want the puck on their stick with the game on the line in big moments. The more guys like that we can grow, develop and integrate into the lineup, the better off we’re going to be. It rubs off on the older guys,” said B’s interim coach Bruce Cassidy. “Ask any veteran guy, when you see those young, youthful guys that have no fear when the puck drops it’s only going to make them more energetic. Just like the leadership of the veteran guys is going to rub off on the younger guys, the energy will rub off on the older guys. I’m sure if you ask the older players, they love having those young guys around.”

So, how much of a lift did a confident, swaggering McAvoy bring to the Bruins by stepping right in for a beaten-up B’s back end that badly needed reinforcements?

“It was impressive,” said Patrice Bergeron, who made his own Stanley Cup playoff debut as an 18-year-old rookie vs. the Montreal Canadiens, no less. “I think it’s a lot of pressure coming in as a 19-year-old, and your first game is the first game of the playoffs. It’s not easy to do, but we saw him in practice and could tell he had a lot of skills and a lot of poise, and great speed. He showed all of that in [Game 1]. He’s a great player and he’s just going to keep getting better. There’s not much more you can say than he was phenomenal.”

The one question about young players such as Pastrnak and McAvoy is consistency in these big-game situations, particularly when an opponent starts to pay a little more physical attention as the playoff series goes along. That will be the challenge for those outstanding young talents, but they showed in Game 1 they’re not going to shrink from it and the future is indeed very bright in Boston in the hands of elite, young talents. 

Bruins resiliency on full display in third-period comeback vs Stars

AP Photo

Bruins resiliency on full display in third-period comeback vs Stars

GOLD STAR: Every once in a while Brad Marchand wills the Bruins to a win that they probably wouldn’t have otherwise had, and that happened again on Friday night with a three-point explosion for No. 63 in the final 20 minutes. Marchand finished with a goal and three points in 19:57 of ice time along with a plus-2 rating, and played a key role in the three-goal outburst that allowed the B’s to vanquish a 2-0 deficit. It was Marchand that opted not to shoot from the face-off dot with a look at the net in the closing seconds, and instead dropped it down low to David Pastrnak as he curled around the net and pushed a puck past Kari Lehtonen for the game-winner. Marchand finished with two shots on net, eight total shot attempts and a number of big plays in the third period redirecting pucks in close, kicking off shorthanded scoring plays and then setting up clutch game-winners in the final 15 seconds of the game. It’s the kind of night where Marchand played like an MVP even if he isn’t going to get much of a sniff at the Hart Trophy. 

BLACK EYE: Jamie Benn scored a shorthanded goal for the Dallas Stars, but he also jumped up in the air and clobbered Brad Marchand from behind with a completely unnecessary hit in the third period that went without a penalty being called. Instead it seemed to incense Marchand, who never gave up in the final sequence and ultimately fed a pass to David Pastrnak down low for the game-winner with just 11.1 seconds remaining in the game. Benn finished a minus-2 for Dallas while being on the ice for a pair of goals against, had a brutal 1-for-7 performance in the face-off dot and really acted like a punk on the play with Marchand in the third period. Benn is a better player than that and shouldn’t be resorting that level on a fellow star player like Marchand. 

TURNING POINT: Once again the Bruins really turned things around in the third period while outscoring the Stars by a 3-0 margin, and really flooding the Dallas net with 10 of their 36 shots on net for the night. It all started with a relentless shift from Boston’s top line where Riley Nash made a pass from his knees before taking a big hit, and then Brad Marchand redirected a David Pastrnak shot from the slot off his leg and into the net for Boston’s first goal. That first score finally allowed the Bruins to begin building some momentum, score each of the next two goals as the game slipped away from Dallas and once again proved themselves as a hockey club that one doesn’t ever doubt in the third period. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Tuukka Rask had a career-high 40 saves and turned away some really good looks from the Dallas offense while showing exactly what the Bruins can be capable of when their goaltending is on point. The only goals that beat Rask were a first period score with droves of traffic in front of the net, and a second period shorthanded score for Jamie Benn where he pulled one of those unconventional finishing moves on Rask at the very end. Rask made 11 saves on the Dallas power play alone during a trio of PP chances, and made a crucial leg pad save on Antoine Roussel in the third period that helped open things up for the goal-scoring outburst late in the game. Hopefully the strong, resounding performance from Rask answers some of the questions about some of his recent so-so performances between the pipes.   

BY THE NUMBERS: 29 – the number of goals this season for David Pastrnak as he readies to become only the ninth Bruins player to hit the 30-goal plateau in back-to-back seasons over the last 35 years of franchise history. 

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Resiliency. We didn’t want to go quietly for sure. We can live with the end result as long as we play the right way. The end result went our way again in the end, and I think that’s a credit to the guys.” –Bruce Cassidy to NESN about another comeback win for the Black and Gold.

Pastrnak scores with 12 seconds left to lift Bruins over Stars, 3-2

AP Photo

Pastrnak scores with 12 seconds left to lift Bruins over Stars, 3-2

DALLAS - David Pastrnak broke a tie with 12 seconds left and the Boston Bruins scored three straight goals in the third period to rally past the fading Dallas Stars 3-2 on Friday night.

A scramble followed a faceoff in the Dallas end, and Brad Marchand passed to Pastrnak in front. While falling down, he put the puck past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.

TALKING POINTS: B's resiliency on full display vs Stars

Tuukka Rask made a season-high 40 saves for the Bruins. Marchand scored Boston's first goal and also assisted on a short-handed goal by Tim Schaller that tied it midway through the third period.

The second-place Bruins won for the first time in three games (1-0-2) to move within four points of Atlantic Division leader Tampa Bay. Boston has already clinched a playoff berth.

The Stars are winless in their last seven games (0-5-2). They remained four points behind Colorado for the second Western Conference wild card.

Dallas led 2-0 on a first-period goal by Esa Lindell and Jamie Benn's short-handed score late in the second.

In the third, Marchand tipped in a shot by Pastrnak before Schaller scored on a 2-on-1 with Marchand.

Lehtonen finished with 33 saves.

Lindell scored 2:26 into the game. Jason Dickinson tried to deflect a shot from the right point into the net but the puck went wide right. Curtis McKenzie picked it up behind the goal line and passed to Lindell high in the left faceoff circle. His wrist shot went in off Rask's right arm.

Benn missed two good scoring opportunities early in the second period, but connected at 19:22. He took a pass from Tyler Seguin at the Dallas blue line and had a breakaway when Matt Grzelcyk fell down. Benn slid a backhand under Rask.