Bruins

Pastrnak had thumb injury but his 'issues were more mental'

Pastrnak had thumb injury but his 'issues were more mental'

Add David Pastrnak to the list of Boston Bruins who dealt with injuries during their postseason run. During a physical postseason series against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Pastrnak apparently aggravated a thumb injury that kept him out of the lineup for five weeks during the regular season.

However, per our own Joe Haggerty, Pastrnak wasn't willing to blame the injury for his poor performance. Instead, he said that the "issues were more mental" and his confidence fluctuated as a result.

Even if a lack of confidence impacted Pastrnak, it's clear that his thumb injury did have an impact on him. In the Stanley Cup Final, he struggled to move the puck, likely as a result of the injury, and logged a dreadful minus-7 rating. He was still strong on the power play, but he wasn't his usual, dynamic self on offense.

Pastrnak will have a chance to heal this offseason and will regain his confidence during the regular season. He did have 81 points in just 66 games last year, so perhaps if he can stay healthy and confident, he will have better success in the postseason next year (should the Bruins qualify).

Pastrnak wasn't the only member of the Bruins' top line to deal with an injury. Patrice Bergeron was dealing with a groin injury (though he won't need surgery) while Brad Marchand had a trio of injuries including one that he aggravated in the Bruins' pre-Stanley Cup Final scrimmage.

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NHL Power Rankings: Supposed Atlantic Division powers struggling early

NHL Power Rankings: Supposed Atlantic Division powers struggling early

A season ago, the Atlantic Division featured three of the best teams in hockey, at least during the regular season: the Lightning, Bruins, and Maple Leafs.

But while the Bruins have shaken off a potential Stanley Cup Final hangover to pace the division this season, Tampa and Toronto have struggled out of the gate.

Neither team is above .500, and both find themselves out of the playoff picture through a quarter of the season.

While it's way too soon to tell if their struggles will continue, it's opened the door for some unexpected teams to make some waves in the standings.

Click here for Joe Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings.>>>>

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Injured Bruins star Patrice Bergeron 'progressing well' with Sabres looming

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USA TODAY Sports

Injured Bruins star Patrice Bergeron 'progressing well' with Sabres looming

Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron has missed the last couple of games with a lower body injury, but he continues to track for a return very soon.

The 34-year-old center isn’t confirmed to suit up for Thursday night’s big divisional game against the Buffalo Sabres, but he skated during a lightly attended practice on Wednesday at Warrior Ice Arena with all signs pointing toward him playing.

But he’s “pretty close” according to Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, which he also was on Tuesday before ultimately sitting out a second straight game after tweaking a lower body issue in the weekend win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Both Bergeron and Torey Krug skated the morning after Boston pulled out a 5-1 road win over the New Jersey Devils, but Krug isn’t expected to return from his injury until the weekend. Bergeron was scratched from Tuesday night’s game in Jersey after he didn’t suit up for warm-ups, but he’s skated two days in a row.

“I’m feeling better. It’s progressing well. Today was a pretty good skate, so I’m feeling good,” said Bergeron, who has eight goals and 19 points in 19 games played this season after a slow ramp-up in training camp following groin issues that dogged him for most of the summer. “It’s a minor issue, but we want to make sure it doesn’t linger for too long. So, we’re being cautious and making sure it’s 100 percent before I get back out there.”

The Bruins did well in Bergeron’s absence on Tuesday with David Krejci racking up two assists and a plus-3 rating while centering Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, and Charlie Coyle ably stepping in for Bergeron at the bumper position on the top power play unit.

HAGGERTY: Ranking the NHL's Top 10 right wings>>>>>

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