Pastrnak inches closer to 50 goals for Bruins in win against Senators
BOSTON — Imagine the Boston Bruins without David Pastrnak.
Since 2014-15, Pastrnak has been a key cog in the Bruins machine, an ever-evolving and ever-maturing goal-scorer, a star who has come into his own athletically and sartorially, growing up in front of the Boston faithful. And, with 26 games remaining in what has been a historic season for the Bruins, Pastrnak has yet more in his grasp.
Like, say, 50 goals.
Pastrnak scored Nos. 40 and 41 in a 3-1 win against the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden on Monday, the Bruins’ fourth straight win and 43rd in 56 games this season. The goals put him within reach of 50, a marker he has yet to reach in his nine seasons in the NHL, with an NHL career high of 48 coming in 2019-20.
“You always want to get better every year,” Pastrnak said. “I obviously haven’t scored 50 yet. It would obviously be nice. To me, at the same time, I’m here to score goals. It’s nice that it’s going in and I have unbelievable linemates that are looking for me. It’s a big reason why I’m doing so well.”
But hanging over the Bruins is the idea that this could be Pastrnak’s final season in Boston. He is unsigned for next season and is set to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career with the six-year, $40 million contract he signed ($6.67 million average annual value) on Sept. 14, 2017, about to expire.
Pastrnak said at the 2023 Discover NHL All-Star Game that he feels fine about the situation and is unconcerned that he remains unsigned, adding that his agent, J.P. Barry, and Sweeney are in discussions every day about the contract.
Pastrnak is a near-perfect player for the market, a goal-scorer with flair and personality, ready to possibly someday inherit the mantle of face of the franchise from captain Patrice Bergeron. He has scored 281 goals in his Bruins career, along with 300 assists, in 566 games — and he’s just 26 years old.
“I think it’s the way that he can do everything,” goalie Linus Ullmark said. “He’s not just a [one-dimensional] kind of guy. He’s got the dangles, he’s got the moves. He’s very poised, very calm when he has the opportunity. You see the first goal he had today — a lot of time and then he just picks his corner to rip it.”
His first goal came at 17:06 of the second period, with the score 1-1. David Krejci won the face-off back to Pastrnak, who sent it cross-ice to defenseman Charlie McAvoy. McAvoy faked a shot, whirled in a circle, and dished it to Pastrnak on the left face-off dot for the goal. The second came on a pass from McAvoy while on his knees in the defensive zone, springing Pastrnak for the breakaway at 12:10 of the third period.
“Unbelievable plays on both goals of mine,” Pastrnak said.
But as much notice as was taken of those two goals, perhaps that much was given to the fact that he didn’t attempt to score a third. On a day of celebration for the 1,000th NHL game for Krejci, his fellow Czech Republic native and close friend, Pastrnak passed up a chance at an empty-net goal to give Krejci a shot at scoring.
“For sure, that was my only goal,” Pastrnak said, of creating an opportunity for Krejci, who hit the milestone on Jan. 16. “I was looking for him all game.”
Had Pastrnak scored, he not only would have netted a hat trick, but would have tied Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid for the NHL lead. To him, that wasn’t the important thing.
“It speaks volumes about their friendship and also about the unselfishness on our team,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. “It’s been like that all year where someone’s always trying to help someone else out, not worrying about themselves.”
Pastrnak is making a bid for his second Maurice Richard Trophy in the past four seasons, the award given to the top goal-scorer in the NHL. He tied for the lead with those 48 goals in the COVID-19-shortened 2019-20 season with Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin. After Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews won it the past two seasons, it’s a race between McDavid, with 42, and Pastrnak with 41. Trailing them are Buffalo Sabres forward Tage Thompson and Colorado Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen, each with 36 goals.
McDavid has one goal in his past seven games. Until Monday, Pastrnak was also in a dip, with one goal in his past six games. Monday, though, he was on.
“He was hanging onto pucks a lot,” Montgomery said. “His speed was very noticeable. When he’s really on, like he was tonight, it jumps out at you. When he has his B game, it still jumps out at you. That’s how good he is. He was just ultra-creative. I thought he and Charlie McAvoy were special tonight.”
It’s exactly the kind of special that the Bruins — and their fans — are hoping stays in Boston long beyond this season.
Need to Know: Bruins vs. Senators
BOSTON – The Bruins will be back on home ice on Tuesday night as they return from a lengthy five-game road trip to host the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden. Boston has bounced back to win three straight after a brief lull in its record-breaking season produced a stretch of three losses in four games.
“Hold ourselves accountable,” Matt Grzelcyk said of how the Bruins have rebounded quickly from the downturn. “And I feel like that Winnipeg game, we got a huge goal second shift, I think that just kind of starts getting things going the right way – and having that more attacking mentality offensively, defensively, taking time and space away from them. And I think it was a good transition and that’s when we could kind of overwhelm teams.”
Here’s everything else you need to know ahead of the 7 p.m. ET puck drop on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub:
On the Injury Front
Derek Forbort did not take part in the morning skate and is unlikely to play again before the postseason, per coach Jim Montgomery. The blue liner suffered a lower-body injury after blocking a shot on March 16 in Winnipeg.
“We do not expect him back before the end of the regular season,” said Montgomery, who added that Forbort does not require surgery.
Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno, both of whom have been out for nearly a month with lower-body injuries of their own, have resumed skating. Foligno took the ice on his own ahead of Tuesday’s morning skate, while Hall joined his teammates donning a maroon non-contact jersey.
“They’re checking boxes and are progressing well, but there’s no timeline for them yet,” said Montgomery. “I still think they are a ways away. It’s not at the point where I’m starting to think about lines and stuff.”
When they do return, however, Montgomery is eager to have plenty of options up front.
“I don’t think it’s a problem. It’s a great situation,” he said. “You’ll get to see when they get back who plays with who, and a deep lineup is going to get even deeper. So, it’s a great problem to have.”
After sitting out Sunday’s game in Buffalo, David Krejci (soreness) and Dmitry Orlov (defense rotation) will be back in the lineup. A.J. Greer and Jakub Zboril will be the healthy scratches.
The Senators, on the second end of a back-to-back, snapped a five-game losing streak on Monday night with a 2-1 win over Pittsburgh. The recent downturn has pushed Ottawa (34-31-5, 73 points) six points behind Florida for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
After winning the first two games against the Bruins this season – both on home ice – the Senators fell to Boston, 3-1, on Feb. 20 at TD Garden.
“I think they won [on Monday night], so they’re probably feeling pretty good about themselves,” said Grzelcyk. “Every game probably feels pretty close to a playoff game and they haven’t been there in a few years. They’ve got a lot to prove and they’ve got a lot of young talent…a good power play.
“We’ve got to stay disciplined, something we’ve lacked in a little bit recently. I’ve got to be mindful of that and I don’t want to give them any easy opportunities. And they played last night, so get on them early and make them work for it.”
Ottawa is paced by Tim Stutzle, who leads the club with 35 goals and 78 points in 66 games. Brady Tkachuk (30-42-72) has also hit the 30-goal, 70-point plateau, while Claude Giroux (28-30-68), Alex DeBrincat (21-35-56), and Drake Batherson (21-34-55) have reached the 20-goal mark.
Tuesday’s Projected Lineup
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Jake DeBrusk
Pavel Zacha – David Krejci – David Pastrnak
Tyler Bertuzzi – Charlie Coyle – Trent Frederic
Jakub Lauko – Tomas Nosek – Garnet Hathaway
Matt Grzelcyk – Charlie McAvoy
Hampus Lindholm – Brandon Carlo
Dmitry Orlov – Connor Clifton
Linus Ullmark/Jeremy Swayman
Canada’s women rebound vs. New Zealand after curling worlds loss to unbeaten Swiss
It was mixed results for Canada on Tuesday at the world women’s curling championship with a narrow loss to undefeated Switzerland and a comfortable victory over winless New Zealand.
Kerri Einarson’s squad from Gimli, Man., opened its day with a 7-6 defeat at the hands of three-time defending champion Silvana Tirinzoni before rebounding with a 10-4 win over New Zealand’s Bridget Becker.
The results left Canada tied for second place at 5-2 through 11 draws heading into games Wednesday against Germany and South Korea.
“It’s a little challenging out there and it’s taking a little longer to buy into and adapt to the changes in the game,” Canada lead Brianne Harris said. “We had a better day yesterday and then today was just a little off again. Hopefully we can build tomorrow and have our best day yet.”
Tirinzoni had her squad ahead 6-4 following a three-point fifth end and a steal of one in the sixth.
After a blank seventh, Einarson scored one in the eighth and tied the match 6-6 with a steal in the ninth.
With the hammer in the final end, Tirinzoni scored one to cement the win and improve to 6-0.
Against New Zealand, Einarson and teammates Harris, Val Sweeting and Shannon Birchard broke open a 2-2 tie with three points in the third end.
Leading 6-4 after six ends, Canada scored two in the seventh, and the teams shook hands after a Canadian steal of two in the eighth.
New Zealand fell to 0-7.
In other Draw 11 results, Sweden edged Japan 5-4, Italy beat Scotland 7-6 and the United States thumped Denmark 7-2.
Italy was tied with Canada at 5-2, with South Korea and Norway next at 4-2.
The top six teams in the 13-team field qualify for the playoff round. The final is scheduled for Sunday.
Son of Flyers GM Daniel Brière charged for pushing wheelchair down stairs
Three misdemeanour charges were filed Monday against the son of Philadelphia Flyers interim general manager Danny Brière after a video posted on social media showed him and another Mercyhurst University athlete pushing an unoccupied wheelchair down a staircase.
Police in Erie, Pennsylvania, filed charges of criminal mischief, criminal conspiracy to commit mischief and disorderly conduct against Carson Brière, who completed his third hockey season at Mercyhurst. Patrick Carrozzi, listed as a senior member of the school’s lacrosse team, faces the same three charges, according to documents filed with District Judge Sue Mack.
The two are scheduled to appear in court on May 22.
The wheelchair’s owner, identified as Sydney Benes, filed a complaint saying the fall down the stairs damaged the left brake handle, broke the right arm rest’s plastic molding, bent a rear handle and caused the wheels to drag when moving forward. Benes said the wheelchair was purchased a year ago, costing $2,000 US.
It’s unclear if Brière or Carrozzi have lawyers who can speak on their behalf.
Brière and two other athletes were placed on interim suspension, while the school investigated the matter.
A message seeking comment left with a Mercyhurst athletic department spokeswoman was not immediately returned.
Last week, the 23-year-old Brière apologized in a statement released through the NHL’s Flyers.
“I am deeply sorry for my behaviour on Saturday,” he said. “There is no excuse for my actions, and I will do whatever I can to make up for this serious lack of judgment.”
Danny Brière, who was promoted to run the Flyers after Chuck Fletcher was fired two weeks ago, said he was shocked to see his son’s actions and called them “inexcusable,” while saying his son “accepts full responsibility for his behaviour.”
Mercyhurst previously released a statement saying the actions displayed in the video fall short of the school’s “belief in the inherent dignity of each person,” adding the school’s “tradition also reminds us that students and all people who make poor choices deserve opportunities to learn, change behaviours and atone for harmful actions.”
Carson Brière previously was dismissed from Arizona State’s hockey club in 2019 for what the school called a violation of team rules.
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