BOSTON (CBS) — The Bruins continued to show an alarming lack of finishing ability Thursday night in their season-opening 6-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Like the past few seasons when the team was at their worst, they created plenty of scoring chances – but mostly couldn’t bury them.
One player who did close the deal on a scoring chance was David Pastrnak, who mostly looked like a legitimate top-line winger in the first game of his sophomore season.READ MORE: 4 Your Community: DAV Department Of Massachusetts
It’s understandable for Claude Julien to say that some players, like the 19-year-old Pastrnak, have to earn their time on the power play. But Pastrnak has already shown he belongs on at least the second unit, putting his instincts, patience, and shot on display on more than a few occasions.
He’s feeling more comfortable in his second season, and it showed.
“Yeah, it’s better than I was coming here last year, definitely feel better,” Pastrnak told reporters after the game. “I just have to keep working hard, same as I did last year and have to have this in my head every day.”
On his third period goal, Pastrnak floated down the left side waiting for an opening to pass to a streaking Matt Beleskey, then instead ripped a blistering wrist shot past Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec. When asked about the play, Pastrnak confirmed he was looking to create a scoring chance rather than finish: “You know, I was trying to get the puck to the net. I had an opportunity to shoot so I decided to shoot and it got in.”
The goal cut the score to 3-2 and gave the Bruins a glimmer of hope after an ugly second frame, and the shot was so lightning-quick you could barely see it. Pavelec probably didn’t.
Earlier, in the second period, Pastrnak almost made an absurd toe drag around Tobias Enstrom, who got just enough hip on him to break up the scoring chance. And he had his chance in the first place because of an impressive cross-ice pass by Ryan Spooner.READ MORE: Police Searching Woods In Abington For Missing 5-Year-Old Elijah Lewis
And his other scoring chance came after some tenacious forechecking that forced Pavelec into a quick pad save with no defensive help.
And I agree with Rear Admiral that Pastrnak deserved an assist on David Krejci’s first period goal. He fed the puck in front and apparently didn’t pick up a helper because it took a few bounces before finding Krejci’s stick – but No. 46 had the opportunity in the first place because Pastrnak threw the puck at the net right at the perfect time. That should always be an assist.
Like pretty much the whole team, Pastrnak’s night wasn’t perfect – he was partially responsible for the lackadaisical backchecking that led to career fourth-liner Chris Thorburn’s back-breaking goal that put the Jets back up 2. But hopefully his defensive lapses don’t hold back his placement in all key offensive situations, where he undoubtedly belongs.
Pastrnak’s speed, shot, forechecking, and offensive instincts all look top line-caliber after one game, and his performance Thursday night should earn him a spot somewhere on the Bruins power play. Immediately. They’re going to need his scoring touch with the way the defense looks like it’s going to play this season.
The Bruins have some new faces that look like they can’t finish their scoring chances (looking at you, Hayes and Connolly). But they have at least one player who can.MORE NEWS: 'Plan For Alternatives': Toys May Be In Short Supply This Holiday Season
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com and loves him some Pasta. His opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Read more from Matt here. Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.