David Pastrnak's injury came at an inopportune time for the Boston Bruins, but the team deserves a lot of credit for raising its performance in his absence and going on an impressive 16-game point streak as of Tuesday.
The 22-year-old forward still leads the Bruins with 31 goals and has missed Boston's last nine games. At the time of his injury, Pastrnak was pretty upset with what had happened. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy talked about Pastrnak's emotions Tuesday during an appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher & Rich" morning show.
"From what I was told, he was close to tears," Cassidy said. "If anything, he feels he let the team down to a certain extent, because it wasn’t an on-ice injury. But listen, the guys love Pasta. He comes to the rink every day in a good mood. He’s a hard worker, he’s a team first guy. So I don’t think there's any resentment at all. He just felt bad that he’s letting the team down at a tough time, going into the (NHL trade) deadline. The team was not on the roll we’re on now. We weren’t scoring as much. You figured we would lose that part of the game. But at the end of the day we’ve been able to pick up the slack for him. I think he feels a lot better now that we’ve been able to win a few games without him and keep the ship under control here."
The Bruins have scored three or more goals in six of the nine games Pastrnak has missed, and that offensive resurgence combined with stellar goaltending have been the drivers of the team's current point streak.
Pastrnak is on track to return before the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs begin next month. His usual spot in the lineup is next to Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on the first line, but Cassidy hinted in this interview that the right wing spot next to David Krejci on the second line also is a possibility for Pastrnak.
Wherever he slots in, the Bruins will be happy for Pastrnak to return. He's the team's best goal scorer and provides a huge lift to the B's offense at 5-on-5 and the power play when he's on the ice.
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