Bruins

David Pastrnak hits rare Bruins mark with 16th power play goal

David Pastrnak hits rare Bruins mark with 16th power play goal

Facing the Bruins' top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak is tough enough for NHL teams. After all, they've combined for 98 goals and 241 points entering tonight — with each of the three scoring 30-plus goals this season for the second straight year.

But if you've got a player in the penalty box? Well, good luck going up against them. The Rangers found that out the hard way Wednesday night when Pastrnak beat Henrik Lundqvist for a power play goal less than three minutes into the first period.

The tally was Pasta's 34th of the season — and his 16th on the power play, which puts him into the top-five in the league this season, and makes him one of the rare Bruins to have a season that prolific on the power play.

Pastrnak joins Joe Thornton in 2000-01 as the only Bruins in the last 20 years to put up at least 16 PPG in a single season, though he's a long way off from the record, as Phil Esposito twice scored 27 PPG in a season. (Pastrnak later added another power play goal to complete his third hat trick of the season.)

While Pastrnak won't reach Espo's mark this year, the very same play also featured another Bruin coming closer to accomplishing a feat that hasn't happened since Jumbo Joe's time in Boston.

Marchand collected his 61st of the season on the Pastrnak score, giving him 95 points, leaving him just five points away from becoming the 10th Bruin in history — and first since Thornton in 2002-03 — to score 100 points in a season.

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NHL free agents 2019: Ranking top 25 players available this offseason

NHL free agents 2019: Ranking top 25 players available this offseason

The 2019 NHL Draft is scheduled to begin Friday, and less than two weeks later free agency will open for all 31 teams.

It's going to be a busy and important couple of weeks for franchises looking to make major changes to their rosters with the hope of winning the Stanley Cup in 2020 and beyond.

Let's take a look at the top unrestricted and restricted free agents that could hit the market in July.

Click here for the top 25 free agents of the 2019 NHL offseason>>>

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Bruins plan to address Bruce Cassidy's contract as he enters final year of the deal

Bruins plan to address Bruce Cassidy's contract as he enters final year of the deal

As Bruce Cassidy enters the final year of his contract as head coach of the Boston Bruins, it probably goes without saying that he deserves an extension. 

The good news for B's fans, according to Joe McDonald of The Athletic, Boston is pleased with Cassidy's performance and plans to address his contract. 

'He’s under contract, so we have decisions that we’re going to progress with, and he’ll be part of that,' general manager Don Sweeney said. 'He’s under contract, so it’s not a concern right now, but we will address it.'

After a 107-point 2018-19 campaign, good for the second-best mark in the NHL, Cassidy led the Bruins to the brink of a Stanley Cup only to fall in Game 7 at TD Garden to the St. Louis Blues.

One of the major themes of this year's Bruins team was their resiliency under Cassidy. Boston fought back from a 3-2 deficit in the first round of the playoffs against Toronto and a 2-1 deficit against Columbus to win those series, and then won another Game 6 on the road down 3-2 to the Blues. 

The Bruins have made the playoffs in each of their first three seasons with Cassidy leading the charge, improving their finish in the postseason each year. 

BRUINS UNDER CASSIDY

2016-17: 44-31-7 (95 points), lost in the first round (4-2)
2017-18: 50-20-12 (112 points), lost in the second round (4-1)
2018-19 49-24-9 (107 points), lost in Stanley Cup Final (4-3)

Cassidy is the second-fastest Bruins coach to reach 100 wins as he has cemented himself as one of the best coaches in the league. And team President Cam Neely certainly thinks highly of him. 

'He’s done a very good job for us, obviously,' Neely said. 'Coming in when he did and getting us to the playoffs and then almost having two, back-to-back 50-win seasons — pretty impressive. He learned from our playoff losses and how to maybe coach a little bit differently in the playoffs.'

We'll see if the Bruins extend Cassidy before the 2019-20 season starts, but it definitely seems like they view him as their long term answer on the Black and Gold's bench. 

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