Bruins-Oilers Talking Points: David Pastrnak won't be denied in OT

Bruins-Oilers Talking Points: David Pastrnak won't be denied in OT

GOLD STAR: David Pastrnak has some nights when he plays well and there are other nights when he’s the single biggest reason the Bruins win a game. Wednesday night was more the latter than the former as Pastrnak set up Boston’s only goal in regulation and then scored the winner in overtime after breaking behind the Edmonton defense before scoring his 43rd goal.

Pastrnak finished with a team-high six shots on net and a whopping 13 shot attempts in 18:17 of ice time with a plus-2 rating. Pastrnak was whistled for a tripping call in the final couple of minutes of the third period and seemed to be on a mission from the time he got out of the box prior to getting that OT breakaway chance. There was little doubt he wasn’t going to come through.

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BLACK EYE: I don’t know who Patrick Russell is, but he played 3:31 in an OT loss for the Oilers when Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse pulled close to 30 minutes in the game for an injury-ravaged roster. So, perhaps it could have been a different outcome if Russell could have lightened the load for some of Edmonton’s top players.

The truth is, though, that the Oilers are going to struggle for as long as key guys Connor McDavid and James Neal are both out. And there wasn’t much from a negative perspective to write about for the Edmonton players in a competitive game they could have easily won against Boston.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins came out strong in the first minute of the second period, didn’t score but then battened down the hatches for the rest of the middle 20 minutes.

Edmonton outshot the Bruins 18-9 and peppered Tuukka Rask on a few power-play possessions in the period, but the Bruins didn’t buckle under the pressure. Instead, Rask stopped all 18 shots he faced in the second period and wasn’t beaten for a goal until the third when a high deflection made it past the Bruins goaltender.

Part of the reason the B’s eventually picked up the full two points was how well they kept the puck out of the net in the second.

HONORABLE MENTION: Rask has been excellent coming out of the All-Star break and he was that kind of good against the Oilers on Wednesday night. Rask stopped 28 of 29 shots, including making saves on those 18 shots in the second, including a couple of Oilers power plays.

Rask only allowed a deflected goal in the third that tied the score on a shot that he couldn’t have been expected to save. Otherwise, he was perfect and continues to team with Jaroslav Halak to be one of the unquestioned strengths of this team.

BY THE NUMBERS: 0-for-7 – the Bruins went 0-for-7 on the power play in one of the few things to be discouraged about from a B's perspective.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Just a little breakaway, and I saw him try to poke-check so I decided to go five-hole there. Lately, we’ve been good [in overtime] so hopefully, we’re getting some confidence back.” –David Pastrnak, on NESN talking about his overtime game-winner.

Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara lead NHL in plus-minus this decade

Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara lead NHL in plus-minus this decade

The Boston Bruins were the NHL's best team before the league hit pause on the 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus, and it's not hard to see why. 

The B's are one of the best defensive teams in the entire NHL. They have allowed the least goals with 167 and rank eighth in shots against per games played with 30.  

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Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara are a big reason why Boston has found plenty of defensive success over the last decade. The trio ranks one, two and three in plus-minus from the 2010-11 season to the 2019-20 campaign. 

Although those three have the best plus-minus in the league, a majority of the B's 2019-20 roster is solid defensively. 

If the NHL season does resume at some point, you can bet on the Bruins being just as good as they were before the league hit pause. 


Bruins prospect Jeremy Swayman named Hobey Baker finalist

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Bruins prospect Jeremy Swayman named Hobey Baker finalist

Bruins prospect Jeremy Swayman will begin his professional career once the NHL regular season pause is over, but the goaltending prospect has already ended his college career in style.

The University of Maine goaltender was named one of three Hobey Baker finalists as the top player in all of NCAA hockey this past season after a tremendous year with the Black Bears.

Swayman, a fourth round draft pick of the Boston Bruins in 2017, finished up his junior season in Orono by playing over 2,000 minutes and leading the nation in saves (a school-record 1,099) with a 2.07 goals against average and a .939 save percentage (second in the country).  

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Swayman earned Hockey East Player of the Year and Mike Richter Finalist honors in addition to being named a Hobey Baker finalist and leaves the Black Bears in the same rarified air as fellow Maine alums like Ben Bishop and Jimmy Howard.

The 21-year-old Swayman signed an entry level contract with the Bruins last month and will embark on his professional career once hockey has resumed. Swayman obviously will be in need of some development at the pro level before he’s considered NHL material in Boston, but he’ll be in the pipeline to be the heir apparent to the No. 1 gig in Boston along with fellow prospects Daniel Vladar and Kyle Keyser.

Swayman joins University of Minnesota Duluth defenseman Scott Perunovich and University of North Dakota forward Jordan Kawaguchi as the three finalists up for college hockey’s top honor, which will be announced on April 11.