Bruins

David Pastrnak's start to 2021 NHL season has been absurdly good

Bruins

The best player in Boston sports right now is Bruins right winger David Pastrnak.

Pastrnak is enjoying a tremendous start to the 2020-21 NHL season, highlighted by an amazing hat trick performance during Boston's 7-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in Sunday night's outdoor game at Lake Tahoe.

The 24-year-old superstar's elite offensive talent was on full display.

His second goal against the Flyers was simply amazing. He received a not-so-good pass from Nick Ritchie on a bouncing puck, took a second to get into a shooting position and fired an absolute laser beam to beat Flyers goaltender Carter Hart up high despite there being only a tiny amount of room under the crossbar.

Pastrnak missed the first seven games of the season as he worked his way back from offseason surgery last September.

He's wasted no time returning to an elite level.

David Pastrnak named NHL's Third Star of the Week

Pastrnak has tallied 14 points (nine goals, five assists) in just nine games. Sunday's hat trick was his second of the season, and only Capitals star Alex Ovechkin has more hat tricks (12) than Pastrnak (10) since the start of the 2016 campaign. Pastrnak also passed Bruins legend Bobby Orr for the fourth-most hat tricks in team history. Did I mention he's just 24 years old?

There are many stats that illustrate Pastrnak's impressive scoring production over the last few years. One that really stands out is Pastrnak has tallied 113 points, including 59 goals, in his last 82 games. 

 

It's hard to imagine Pastrnak retiring without a 50-goal season (or several of them). If the league is able to schedule a normal 82-game season for 2021-22, Pastrnak will have a great chance to hit that 50-goal milestone. He likely would've reached it last season if the COVID-19 pandemic didn't force the league to halt the regular season in March. Pastrnak had a league-leading 48 goals at the time of the stoppage.

The only players with more goals scored than Pastrnak's 130 since the start of the 2017-18 season are Ovechkin (156) and Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (136). Pastrnak's 230 points over that same span ranks No. 8, and he's played in fewer games than all of the seven players ahead of him.

The Bruins are once again one of the top contenders for the Stanley Cup, and without the juggernaut Tampa Bay Lightning standing in their way for at least the first two rounds of the playoffs, this team has an excellent chance to make another championship run -- perhaps the final one with this veteran core.

If the Bruins are going to return to the Stanley Cup Final, they'll need a healthy and elite-level Pastrnak. So far, it looks like the Bruins have that with the 24-year-old winger. You won't find another player in Boston sports performing at a higher level than Pastrnak.