BOSTON (CBS) – The Bruins waited more than two months for David Pastrnak to score a goal, but that’s nothing.
Imagine waiting 20 years and seven months to witness a Pastrnak goal in person.
The 20-year-old right wing not only ended a lengthy scoring drought and ended the Bruins’ four-game losing streak with a goal with 46.9 seconds remaining in overtime in a 4-3 win against Detroit at TD Garden on Tuesday, he also gave his mother a thrill.
Pastrnak’s mom, Marcela, has been with the Bruins as part of the son-mother trip that started Sunday in Pittsburgh. Many of the mothers stuck around to watch the Bruins take on the Red Wings and for a while they were getting a performance as poor as the one Boston turned in against the Penguins in a 5-1 loss.
But things turned around when Brad Marchand scored the game-tying goal with 8:20 elapsed in the third period. Then Pastrnak finished David Krejci’s cross-ice pass with a one-timer from the top of the left circle, making history for mama Pastrnak.
“It’s the third time she came and it’s the first goal she saw live, so I’m really happy for her, she was kind of frustrated too,” said Pastrnak, who was raised by his mom after his father died when he was 16.
If Pastrnak’s mom was frustrated imagine what was going on throughout the Bruins dressing room, riding a 0-3-1 slump into the third period, trailing 3-2 despite outshooting Detroit 33-16 through 40 minutes. Were major changes in the offing? Was Claude Julien going to be able to move back to Canada? Was a major piece of the Bruins’ core going to get moved?
Sometimes shakeups happen after wins, but it felt like everyone got a reprieve after the Bruins won for just the second time this season (2-16-3) when trailing after two periods. And it was all thanks to Marchand and Pastrnak. It shouldn’t be a surprise that those guys were the catalysts of the comeback victory because they’re the ones that have carried the mostly moribund offense all season.
Marchand scored twice to run his total for goals to 19 and he leads the Bruins with 47 points. Pastrnak leads the Bruins with 20 goals. However, he hadn’t scored since Dec. 17 in Pittsburgh, a stretch of 17 games. It was beginning to look like maybe expecting a 20-year-old to carry the offensive load for a NHL team was too much to handle.
Pastrnak didn’t lose faith in his ability to score and his teammates believed in him all along.
“I think he knows what he has to do, he has to continue to shoot pucks and the way he shoots it and the way he can release it from different angles, it’s only a matter of time before they go in,” Marchand said. “Especially he’s not a kid that is scared to go in front of the net, he is always around there. Pucks are going to find him and he knows that, and again another great play by him tonight to get that winner.”
To a man the Bruins were hopeful that the dramatic win was one to build on after their slump. They haven’t won two in a row since they swept a home-and-home with Buffalo Dec. 29 and 31. They haven’t won three in a row since early December.
Although the Bruins earned the two points, there was still a lot of room for improvement. And you can’t overlook the weakness of the opponent, as Detroit showed up without leading scorer Thomas Vanek and second-year speedster Dylan Larkin.
But those little details are for another day of analysis. In the aftermath of a rare Bruins’ comeback, it’s worth relishing what Pastrnak accomplished and what he might be able to get done down the stretch as the Bruins look to avoid the same fate as their past two seasons and miss the playoffs.
“Pasta’s been an important player for us all year and hopefully we can get him going again scoring-wise,” Bruins defenseman Torey Krug said. “I know he’s been showing up, getting some assists here and there, but for him to get this swagger back, that’s a big goal.”
It was a goal a mother, a team, a coaching staff and a whole organization could love.
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com and also contributes to NHL.com and several other media outlets.