BOSTON – The best news from the Bruins win over the Rangers on Wednesday night, aside from the actual victory of course, was the return to scoring superstar form for David Pastrnak. In his fifth game back from a left thumb injury and while still playing with a protective splint, Pastrnak exploded for his third hat trick of the season and five points in Boston’s convincing 6-3 win over the New York Rangers at TD Garden.
Pastrnak looked sharp blasting away on one-timers from the face-off circle on the Bruins power play, he looked strong handling the puck on his stick and he mixed a dangerous scoring touch right long his underrated playmaking ability. Nobody was quite sure how quickly that Pastrnak would return to form given the thumb ligament injury and given the unknown severity to the hand issue, but made a statement against the Blueshirts by scoring in all three of the periods.
After showing some rust in his first four games after returning from the injury for the first time in over a month, Pastrnak was right back in the zone against the Rangers scoring a whopping three goals while showing a considerable skill level that’s still intact.
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“Obviously it helps to me coming back, you know, after a long time [where I] haven’t missed a game,” said David Pastrnak. “It was a bit tough at the beginning but it was fun to be back at the Garden and play [on] home ice.
“I feel pretty good today.”
If one couldn’t tell automatically then the three goals in three periods of play certainly must have given it away. The hat trick was Pastrnak’s third of the season, which is the most for a Bruins player since some guy named Cam Neely did it way back in 1987-88.
“It was, obviously, a great night. He was firing the puck well, looked like he was more comfortable handling it in traffic,” said Bruce Cassidy, when asked about Pastrnak’s five-point performance.
That was a bit of an issue a few games there. He was still finding his timing, so certainly he put up points and was physical there in the third when our group got a little more ornery.
“He was part of that, so I liked his game, moved him around to try to get a different line going. It worked out for them, whether that was him or the line just got going against I like where he’s at. He’s got a little more energy too because he missed [some games]. This time of year, guys are trying to get to the finish line, to a certain extent. Everybody has something to play for, don’t get me wrong, but the playoffs are in sight.”
Clearly the biggest and best development from a nondescript late season win was Pastrnak getting on the board early and often with his shooting, and parlaying those abilities into a career-high 36 goals this season as Pastrnak ascends higher and higher each season. The Bruins will need him to be this good every night during the playoffs, and Pastrnak showed on Wednesday against the Rangers that he’s ready to once again be a dynamic scorer in the postseason.
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