Boston Bruins superstar David Pastrnak continues to etch his name in the record books.
The winger scored his league-leading 24th goal of the season against the New York Rangers Friday afternoon, putting him in elite company. Pastrnak is the fourth player in NHL history with at least 12 goals in each of the first two months of a season — and he's the first player to do so in 27 years.
The other players to accomplish the feat? Wayne Gretzky (1981-82, 1983-84), Mike Bossy (1984-85) and Mario Lemieux (1992-93).
GOLD STAR: He didn’t factor in the scoring at all, but credit Torey Krug as one of the Bruins leaders that stepped up and showed some attitude in a needed win over the Penguins.
It was Krug that got into a shoving match with Patric Hornqvist in front of the bench, and then continued it with a hockey fight after they both got out of the penalty box.
Krug finished with six shot attempts and a takeaway in 16:06 of ice time, but it was really a team-wide showing of physicality and attitude that elevated the game of the Bruins and got them back into the winning flow against Pittsburgh. Krug was one of the key guys that got them there even as he was an unlikely 5-foot-8 combatant that won his bout with the sandpaper-playing Hornqvist.
BLACK EYE: Evgeni Malkin was pretty invisible for the Penguins in this one. He was challenged early and often by Zdeno Chara in the game and that seemed to render him pretty ineffective after that point against the Bruins.
Malkin finished pointless with a minus-2 rating and had a whopping three giveaways over his 19:21 of ice time. It was a harmless little swipe at Jaroslav Halak in the first period that really started setting things off as Chara grabbed Malkin and roughed him up in the corner afterward. That started the two big-bodied players going at each other for the better part of the evening.
Most times Malkin is going to lose that battle as he did on Thursday night.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins fell down by a 1-0 score early in the game as Sidney Crosby scored in the opening minute, and that could have been a big time problem on another night. But the Bruins were determined to make this a prolonged, invested all-around effort right from the drop of the puck. They did exactly that when they fought back to tie the game, and then go ahead by a goal when Par Lindholm redirected a Karson Kuhlman pass down low.
The Bruins outshot the Penguins 12-10 in the period and overcame the early deficit with some hard-nosed, determined physical play and some digging in by their bottom two lines coming up with a couple of goals in the secondary scoring department. Once they did that they had the momentum on their side.
HONORABLE MENTION: Jaroslav Halak had been struggling a little bit of late, but he pulled together after allowing a bad goal in the first period to the Penguins.
Halak stopped 29-of-30 shots and was brilliant at the end of the second period when the Penguins went on a 2-on-none shorthanded breakaway with Halak making four different saves to keep Pittsburgh from tying up the game. He stoned Zach Aston-Reese at least four different times with point blank chances from the front of the net and never buckled even as the B’s broke down just a little bit.
Halak's performance is a good sign that he is going to backstop the B’s to some good things as he’ll be given the starting nod for a few games in a row with Rask (concussion) on the shelf right now.
BY THE NUMBERS: 1 – the number of registered hits for Chris Wagner on the stat sheet, which is kind of ridiculous given that the fourth line winger threw at least four or five of them in a tremendously physical game against the Penguins.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I thought tonight was a pretty good first step to getting back to who we are.” –Bruce Cassidy on the B’s overall effort in a 4-1 win over the Penguins.
Arguably the most explosive talent in the NHL resides at the right wing position where the top two players (David Pastrnak and Patrick Kane) are on pace to easily cross 40 goals and 100 points this season, and the third player is last year’s Hart Trophy winner.
There’s also the amazing young talent at the NHL’s right wing spot with players under 25 years old that include Pastrnak, Brock Boeser, Andrei Svechnikov, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and Travis Konecny.
In other words, this is a stacked list that doesn’t even include Patrick Laine. These are the top-10 right wings in the NHL right now.