Pastrnak trending upward offensively with B's down a couple of big producers

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Pastrnak trending upward offensively with B's down a couple of big producers

BOSTON – With Patrice Bergeron and Charlie McAvoy, potentially, both injured and on the shelf for the Boston Bruins, it is high time that the rest of Boston’s greater offensive lights are ready to step up and fill the void. Brad Marchand heeded the call on Saturday night, obviously, with his overtime game-winning goal in Boston’s 2-1 OT win against the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden, and on that line’s opposite side David Pastrnak is showing all the signs of breaking out as well.

The 21-year-old right winger had a goal and three points against the Penguins on Thursday night, and Pastrnak was again heavily involved in the offensive pressure against the Habs with four shots on net, a couple of scoring chances and an impressive ten shot attempts in his 19: 10 of ice time. Pastrnak was able to rip a couple from the left face-off circle during Boston’s six power play possessions, and took a couple of pucks strong to the net as well in his varied offensive attacks.


The battle was good, the puck management was solid and the chances were burgeoning with Pastrnak’s game trending in the right direction at time when the Bruins are going to need him if they hope to keep their offensive machine churning without a couple of key cogs.  

“I had a lot of chances, which is good enough for my game. Usually those games are happening after you score eight goals next game you go and [there] is an absolute wall in the net,” said Pastrnak, who has had as many shot attempts (eight) in the last two games as he did in the previous five contests. “It happens, thank God two was enough tonight. I think we were patient and we stuck together as a team really well.

“Obviously I end up learning every game when I am playing with [Bergeron]. He’s such a good defensive player. It’s just about stop and starts usually good offense comes from a good defense so I’m going to try to keep it going.”

It didn’t lead to a goal on Saturday night, but it easily could have been multiple goals based on the quality of scoring chances.

“Pasta could’ve had a hat trick, I thought, tonight. The puck was following him, so on the one hand, because you win [you say] the puck is following him; he’s playing well. If it hadn’t worked out, you [say] he’s got to bury some of those. It’s that simple. So, it’s the good and the bad, right?” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “We’d like to see him finish a few more of those, but when you’re skating and winning puck battles and you do that on a consistent basis, then you become like Marchy and you score 30, 35 goals.

“That’s what [Pastrnak] is trending toward. I thought he’s done a really good job this whole week of winning more pucks and being around [the action] more. He’s too good a player. If he has it, eventually he is going to get his goals.”

The Bruins are absolutely going to need some of those goals moving forward over the next few weeks as the games intensify, and the need to fill in some production without No. 37 or No. 73 becomes a necessity.


Talking points: Ryan Donato's goal helps Bruins clinch playoff berth

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Talking points: Ryan Donato's goal helps Bruins clinch playoff berth

GOLD STAR: Jaden Schwartz stepped up and won the game for the Blues with a couple of really good plays in the third period and overtime. He took advantage of a line change and a lax Bruins defense to snap a shot past Anton Khudobin from the face-off circle in the third period that tied up the game, and then went on a one-man rush in overtime before blasting a puck past Khudobin for the game-winner on a beautiful individual play. Schwartz finished with the two goals that represented all of the St. Louis offense, four shots on net, a hit and a takeaway in 20:02 of ice time while logging a plus-2 rating as well. The Blues clearly needed somebody to step up to the plate with Vladimir Tarasenko and the Schwartz was with St. Louis on Wednesday night.

BLACK EYE: The Bruins were quite literally black and blue after a physical, punishing game with the St. Louis Blues. A number of players took heavy hits against a St. Louis team that felt free to throw hits and take runs with Zdeno Chara and David Backes out of Boston’s lineup among other players, and that culminated with Brayden Schenn drilling David Krejci in the second period. It was a hit that earned Schenn a two minute penalty for charging midway through the period, but shouldn’t result in anything more for the Blues forward. The hit wasn’t late, his skates were on the ice when he made contact, and Krejci was crouched down when Schenn made impact on a heavy check with his elbows tucked in, so it looked like a relatively clean hit that isn’t going to be on the radar of the NHL’s Player Safety Department. That physicality for the Blues really seemed to slow down the Bruins a little bit as things went on over the 60 plus minutes of the overtime game.


TURNING POINT: The Bruins actually only got outshot by a 15-13 margin in the second period, third period and overtime, but it was clear that they slowed down in terms of attacking and creating chances as things moved on in the game. By the latter half of the game the Bruins were simply trying to hang on to their one-goal lead, and then after that simply trying to hang in there for the point earned by getting to overtime. They managed to do it, but it was a different wave of momentum in the game once the Blues tied things up in the third period on Schwartz’s first goal. After that the Bruins were scrambling and hanging on, and did just enough to hang in there for a single overtime point for the second game in a row.

HONORABLE MENTION: Ryan Donato made it two goals in two games when he stepped into a loose puck created by an Alex Pietrangelo turnover that bounced off referee Brad Watson after he attempted to throw a puck up the middle of the ice. Donato pounced on the fortuitous bounce and rocked a puck on edge past Jake Allen for the game’s first goal and another affirmation that the 21-year-old can both shoot and score. Donato was pretty quiet after that goal, of course, with a couple of shots on net, but it seemed like a big, heavy hit on him by Dmitri Jaskin in the second period kind of quieted the youngster down a little bit. Still, you’ve got to love the production from a player just getting his feet wet at the NHL level.

BY THE NUMBERS: 100 – The number of points for the Bruins after falling in overtime by a 2-1 score to the Blues, and in getting to the century mark the B’s clinched a playoff spot for the second season in a row.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s step one. Going into the season we wanted to make the playoffs and be a Stanley Cup contender. Right now we got in and we’re going to be a contender, right? Now it’s about being in the best position possible going forward.” –Bruce Cassidy, to reporters in St. Louis about clinching the playoff spot on Wednesday night.


Bruins clinch playoff berth in 2-1 OT loss to Blues

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Bruins clinch playoff berth in 2-1 OT loss to Blues

Jaden Schwartz scored his second goal of the game 30 seconds into overtime to give the St. Louis Blues a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.

Schwartz skated up the middle and fired a shot past Anton Khudobin. The Blues won for the fifth time in six games to move within a point of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

Jake Allen made 21 saves to improve to 24-21-2.

Ryan Donato scored for Boston. The Bruins clinched a playoff spot and moved within four points of Tampa Bay for the Eastern lead.

Schwartz tied it midway through the third period with a wrist shot from the top of the circle.

Donato scored his second goal in his second NHL game. He had a goal and two assists in a 5-4 loss to Columbus on Monday night.

Donato, still a student at Harvard University, returned to Massachusetts on Tuesday to attend class before flying back to St. Louis to rejoin the Bruins. His father, Ted, played 528 games in two stints with the Bruins (1992-99, 2003-04).

Donato, who played for the U.S. Olympic team last month, drilled a shot past Allen. A clearing attempt by Alex Piertrangelo hit referee Brad Watson and the pick bounced right to Donato.

Boston, which has a game in hand on Tampa Bay, joined Nashville and Tampa Bay as only teams to have clinched playoff spots.


Boston was without seven key players:- C Patrice Bergeron (fractured left foot), D Charlie McAvoy (left knee), D Zdeno Chara (upper body), LW Jake DeBrusk (upper body), RW David Backes (right leg laceration), D Torey Krug (upper body) and LW Rick Nash (upper body). They have combined for 101 goals and 161 assists.

NOTES:- St. Louis RW Vladimir Tarasenko missed his second successive game after taking an elbow to the face against the New York Rangers on Saturday. ... The Bruins have least one point in 12 of their last 15 games against St. Louis. ... Only three Boston players - RW David Pastrnak, C Tim Schaller and C Sean Kuraly - have played in every game this season.


Bruins: At Dallas on Friday night in the second game of a four-game trip.

Blues: Host Vancouver on Friday night.