David Pastrnak had a five-point night (three goals, two assists) as he led the Boston Bruins to a, 6-3, victory over the New York Rangers on Wednesday at TD Garden.
Bruins goaltender, Jaroslav Halak (21-10-4 record, 2.33 goals against average, .923 save percentage in 38 games played), made 20 saves on 23 shots faced for an .870 SV% in the winning effort, while New York’s Henrik Lundqvist (18-21-10, 3.05 GAA, .907 SV% in 50 GP) stopped 26 out of 32 shots faced for an .813 SV% in the loss.
The B’s improved to 47-21-9 (103 points) on the season and remain in command of 2nd place in the Atlantic Division, while the Rangers fell to 29-34-17 (71 points) and stuck in 7th place in the Metropolitan Division.
Marcus Johansson (lung contusion) returned to the second line right wing after missing the last ten games and Torey Krug (concussion) returned to action alongside Brandon Carlo on the second defensive pair after missing the last six games.
Cassidy also provided an update on John Moore (upper body) and indicated the defender would be out “week-to-week”, joining Sean Kuraly (fractured right hand) on the longer prognosis for a return to the lineup.
With Johansson and Krug back in the lineup, Karson Kuhlman was the only healthy scratch (and later reassigned to Providence (AHL) during the second intermission).
The Rangers had slight miscalculation with the number of skaters allowed on the ice at one time while their goaltender was still in the crease.
As a result, Pavel Buchnevich served New York’s bench minor for too many on the ice at 2:29 of the first period.
Boston went on the power play for the first time Wednesday evening and the first time with Krug back in the lineup on the power play unit.
It only took the B’s 19 seconds on the ensuing power play to convert on the scoreboard.
Marchand received a give-and-go from Bergeron and threw the puck over to Pastrnak (34) for the one-timer from one knee and Pastrnak’s first goal of the evening at 2:48 of the first period.
Boston led, 1-0, thanks to Pastrnak’s power play goal, with the assists credited to Marchand (61) and Bergeron (45).
Late in the opening frame, Zdeno Chara sent the puck over the glass and was automatically charged with a delay of game minor infraction at 14:51.
Boston’s penalty killing unit almost killed off Chara’s minor, but was bitten late in New York’s first power play of the night as Mika Zibanejad (29) tied the game, 1-1.
Ryan Strome (14) and Buchnevich (16) tallied the assists on Zibanejad’s first goal of the night at 16:29.
After one period of play, the Bruins and Rangers were tied, 1-1, on the scoreboard, while Boston led in shots on goal (13-10) and blocked shots (5-4).
New York led in takeaways (3-1), giveaways (4-3), hits (12-8) and face-off win percentage (74-26) heading into the dressing room for the first intermission.
Both teams were 1/1 on the power play entering the second period.
Jimmy Vesey tripped Pastrnak to kick things off in the middle frame at 1:46 of the second period. The Bruins did not convert on the resulting power play.
Almost midway through the second period, after Cassidy adjusted his lines, David Krejci worked a backhand pass over to Pastrnak (35) for the one-timer in the low slot and the B’s took the lead once again, 2-1, at 9:15.
Krejci (47) and Krug (43) notched the assists on Pastrnak’s second goal of the night as Pastrnak tied his career-high in goals.
With an assist on the goal, Krug amassed his 284th career point (all with Boston), which is the most by an American-born player in Bruins franchise history.
Moments later, Pastrnak hooked Kevin Shattenkirk at 13:12 and McAvoy followed suit hooking Shattenkirk almost a minute after Pastrnak was released from the penalty box at 15:58.
The Rangers did not capitalize on either power play opportunity.
Late in the period, Lias Andersson delivered a back-check to Bergeron along the boards in the corner of the B’s attacking zone where Bergeron’s career nearly came to an end on Oct. 27, 2007 thanks to then Philadelphia Flyers defender, Randy Jones, delivering a hit from behind that left Bergeron with a broken nose and a major concussion.
History aside, Andersson left his feet as he backed into Bergeron’s face with an elbow and Bergeron did not take exception to the incident.
The Bruins veteran and alternate captain immediately began to rough up Andersson as the two tangled to the ice, leaving Andersson with two roughing penalties and Bergeron with one minor for roughing– yielding a power play for Boston at 18:29.
Though the skater advantage would carryover into third period, Boston did not score on the resulting power play while Andersson was in the box.
After 40 minutes of play, the Bruins led, 2-1, on the scoreboard and, 22-16, in shots on goal.
Boston also held the advantage in blocked shots (8-5), while the Rangers maintained the lead in takeaways (5-4), giveaways (9-6), hits (19-16) and face-off win% (57-43).
Each club was 1/3 on the power play entering the third period.
DeBrusk (24) made it a two-goal game for the Bruins at 3:19 of the third period with his one-timer goal on a no-look pass from Pastrnak through the low slot while Lundqvist was behind the play.
Pastrnak (40) and Krejci (48) tabbed the assists on DeBrusk’s goal.
Almost two minutes later, Strome (16) answered back in a hurry.
While Boston’s defense was outnumbered in the slot, Strome banked a shot off of Halak’s pad and through the five-hole to make it a one-goal game once again.
Midway through the final frame of regulation, Strome was penalized for holding at 12:38.
Less than a minute into the power play, Pastrnak (36) completed his 4th career regular season hat trick (and 3rd this season) as he blasted a shot past Lundqvist on the short side over his blocker.
Krug (44) and Marchand (62) had the assists as hats fell upon the ice at TD Garden at 12:52.
With his third goal of the game, Pastrnak established a new career-high in goals with 36 goals in 61 games played this season (he had 35 goals in 82 games last season).
Moments later, New York was called for too many men for the second time of the night at 15:03.
While on the two-skater advantage, Bergeron (32) redirected a shot from Pastrnak past Lundqvist to give the Bruins a three-goal lead at 16:23.
Pastrnak (41) and Marchand (63) collected the assists on Bergeron’s power play goal and the Bruins led, 5-2, as Pastrnak picked up his 5th point of the night.
The 22-year-old winger joined Barry Pederson (3x), Jason Allison (2x) and Bobby Orr (2x) as the only Bruins players with multiple five-point games in their careers (regular season or playoffs) before the age of 23.
McAvoy (7) followed Bergeron’s goal with one of his own on a twine-seeking missile at 17:12 to give Boston a four-goal lead, 6-2.
Chara (9) and Coyle (21) had the assists on McAvoy’s power play goal as the Bruins notched three goals on four shots in the span of their two-skater advantage.
About a minute later, Andersson found himself tangled up again with a Bruins veteran– this time, David Backes— as the two players each received roughing minors.
Backes earned an additional roughing penalty that was served by Johansson at 18:10 as the Rangers went on the power play for the last time on Wednesday.
While on the skater advantage, New York generated a rebound off Halak and Zibanejad (30) buried the puck in the net with Halak in desperation to cut the lead to a deficit of three goals at 19:56.
Vladislav Namestnikov (18) and Tony DeAngelo (25) notched the assists as the Rangers trailed, 6-3.
At the final horn, Boston had beaten New York, 6-3, and finished the night leading in shots on goal (32-23) and hits (27-24).
The Rangers finished Wednesday night’s action leading in giveaways (12-10) and face-off win% (52-48), while both teams had nine blocked shots apiece.
New York went 2/4 on the power play and the Bruins went 4/6 on the skater advantage.
The Bruins host the Florida Panthers on Saturday before traveling to Detroit on Sunday to close out the month of March.
Boston finishes the season swinging through Columbus on April 2nd, making a stop in Minnesota on April 4th and wrapping up the regular season on April 6th at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning.