Bruins

Bruins-Canadiens Talking Points: David Pastrnak a one-man gang

Bruins-Canadiens Talking Points: David Pastrnak a one-man gang

GOLD STAR: It’s got to be David Pastrnak, right? The 23-year-old winger had the Canadiens beat all by himself with his three goals: a tap-in after a great net drive by Brad Marchand, a transition play where Sean Kuraly fed him the puck on a 2-on-1 where he then made a nifty stick fake before dumping the puck in and a scramble in front of the net on a 4-on-3 power play that led to the final part of the scoring barrage. 

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Pastrnak has 41 goals for his first 40-goal season and is the first Bruin to reach that mark since Glen Murray in 2002-03. The best part is that Pastrnak is still going strong and has a pretty good chance to at least get to 50, if not 60. He's back in the NHL lead after falling behind Alex Ovechkin and Auston Matthews for a couple of weeks.

BLACK EYE: An absolute nothing night for Jonathan Drouin, who did nothing but negative things for the Canadiens.

The first misstep was a bad decision to pass the puck in the neutral zone in the first period that got intercepted by Marchand, which turned into Marchand driving the net before feeding it to Pastrnak for his first goal. Drouin ended with zero shots on net in 14:20 of ice time, was a minus-2 along with the colossally bad turnover, took a matching penalty with Chris Wagner when the two players were slashing at each other and brought nothing good to the table for Les Habitants. 

He wasn’t the only one, but he was probably the worst one.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins built a solid one-goal lead after one period, but they really blew the Canadiens out of the water in the second. The Bruins poured on a couple more goals and outshot Montreal 15-9 in that second stanza and pushed their advantage to 3-1 heading into the final 20 minutes. Amazingly, the Canadiens didn’t provide much of a fight in the third period with their playoff lives on the line. The Bruins finished strong at both ends of the ice before getting an empty-netter to clinch things in the closing seconds.

HONORABLE MENTION: Marchand made statements early in the game against the Canadiens with the excellent all-around play where he stole a pass in the neutral zone, drove the net and then fed to a wide-open Pastrnak for the first goal. 

Marchand finished with a pair of assists including the helper on the empty-net goal as well, and he fired up the physical side by getting into it with Jeff Petry in an exchange where they traded cross-checks, slashes and spearing. It ended up with the Canadiens getting a power play out of it largely because the refs don’t give No. 63 the benefit of the doubt, but it also set the tone physically for the rest of the game.

BY THE NUMBERS: 10 – The number of players in Bruins history that have logged at least four consecutive 70-point campaigns with both Pastrnak and Marchand joining that club this season. Marchand joined with his first assist on Wednesday night.  

QUOTE TO NOTE: “I think Marchy [Brad Marchand] was dialed in today. [He] did a lot of things well [and] wanted to be a driver in the game for that line, and I thought he was.” –Bruce Cassidy, on Marchand pacing the Bruins with two points, chippy play and a whole lot of attitude in the win over the Canadiens.


 

Phil Esposito set impressive Bruins goal scoring record on this day in 1971

Phil Esposito set impressive Bruins goal scoring record on this day in 1971

March 31 is a special day in the history books of the Boston Bruins franchise.

Hall of Fame forward Phil Esposito scored his 70th goal (an NHL record at the time) of the 1970-71 season on this day, becoming the first Bruins player to hit that goal-scoring milestone.

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Check out the graphic below for more information:

Esposito's 76 goals in the 1970-71 season still stand as a Bruins record for a single campaign.

Bruins right winger David Pastrnak was making a run at 60 goals earlier this season. The 23-year-old star currently sits at 48 goals with the season suspended due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Pastrnak is tied for the league lead with Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin.

If the 2019-20 season doesn't resume or the league decides to go straight to the Stanley Cup Playoffs upon returning, Pastrnak would be the first Bruins player to win or share the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the league's leading goal scorer since Esposito in 1974-75.

Tuukka Rask 'hasn't made any decisions' on his long-term Bruins future

Tuukka Rask 'hasn't made any decisions' on his long-term Bruins future

Tuukka Rask finally addressed an interview he gave weeks ago where he mused about retiring at the end of his current contract following next season, and brought a little more clarity to the situation.

The 33-year-old Bruins goaltender was on the Greg Hill Show on WEEI on Tuesday morning and made it clear no decisions have been about his future beyond the 2020-21 season that he’s still signed for in Boston. Rask was on track for a Vezina Trophy-level season this year when things were put on pause due to the coronavirus outbreak and was leading the NHL with a 2.12 goals against average while ranking second in the league with a .929 save percentage.

So it’s clear that Rask has still got more than one or two good years left if he wanted to keep on playing in Boston beyond his current deal.

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“Listen, I remember the interview if you can even call it an interview. This [Boston Globe] reporter asked me some questions right after practice when I was packing my bag, and all I said was my contract’s up (in 2021) so every option is on the table,” said Rask. “I haven’t made any decisions on any direction yet, obviously we’re not even playing hockey right now, so that’ll be in the future. But it’s definitely not in my mind right now, just trying to take care of the family now and go back to hockey whenever that happens and then go from there.

“I’m sure we’re going to have good conversations with (Don Sweeney) after this season and go from there. But I’m only 34, so it’s not too old, might play another year or two and go from there. I don’t want to promise anything either way because you never know what’s going to happen.”

Given the high level that Rask is currently playing at, his current $7 million per season contract wouldn’t be an outrageous ask without knowing how the current coronavirus work stoppage is going to impact the overall salary cap picture.

Clearly nothing is set in stone and perhaps the retirement talk is as much about contract leverage the next time around as anything else. But it still puts the Bruins in a tough position following this season if they don’t have any certainty when it comes to the future with Rask. They could re-sign Jaroslav Halak to an extension following this season and continue to hope to ride things out with a great goaltending duo while shelling out nearly $10 million for both goalies.

But the Bruins may also need to quickly groom a new No. 1 goalie if Rask is a question mark for the long-term future in Boston. Halak certainly doesn’t feel that guy at this point in his NHL career while in his mid-30s as well.

That may push the Bruins to install Dan Vladar, Jeremy Swayman or Kyle Keyser as Rask’s backup for next season to evaluate exactly what they currently have inside the organization should things change drastically.

Obviously, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to Rask’s future in Boston. But even with his mild assurances that nothing is set in stone, the Bruins will have to be prepared that it’s not a lock the No. 1 goalie will remain with the Bruins beyond his current contract.