By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — David Pastrnak can seemingly do whatever he wants on the ice these days. Sometimes, that is evident when he deposits four pucks into the back of the net in a single game. Other times, it can be seen when he takes the moves typically only seen during practice and busts them out in the middle of a real, live game.READ MORE: All Mass. Residents 16 And Over To Be Eligible For COVID Vaccine Starting Monday
The latter was the case on Tuesday night, when Pastrnak broke a 0-0 tie late in the first period with a goal that typically can’t be pulled off against an NHL team.
With the Bruins on a power play, Pastrnak backward along the goal line, inching toward the net, before taking a feed from Brad Marchand. With Jake DeBrusk occupying defenseman Morgan Rielly in front of the net, and without much room to operate, Pastrnak decided to put the puck between his legs and sneak it between the pads of goaltender Michael Hutchinson.
And because the sun always shines on David Pastrnak, it worked.
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Pastrnak was happy to do the work of the referee to signal for the goal, too.
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The highlight-reel goal — and an assist later in the game on a Brad Marchand goal — was just the latest in what has been a torrid stretch for the 23-year-old. He leads the NHL with 10 goals, and he’s tied for second in the NHL with 17 points. He’s scored at least one goal in each of the last four games and in six of the Bruins’ nine games.
“Nothing surprises me with him anymore,” said Marchand, per the Boston Globe. “He has the ability to do anything.”
Pastrnak said that’s not a move he generally spends much time practicing.
“It’s not something I’ve tried on our goalies in practice,” he said, per the Globe. “But before practice, when you are skating around and the net’s empty, that’s when you try it.”
“Everything catches my eye with him lately,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said after Tuesday’s 4-2 win over Toronto. “He’s just on it, he’s on pucks, he’s strong, his conditioning seems great. He’s playing a lot of minutes, hard minutes against good players every night. Play-making ability, he’s making plays as well, getting his shot off. I think last year he was fighting the puck a little bit in the playoffs, for whatever reason. I think it was rust to be honest with you, a few times late in the year. He’s spot-on this year.”
Cassidy said a goal like the one Pastrnak scored on Tuesday is a sign of the skilled winger adding some strength and size over the past few years.
“I think he’s stronger on the puck so he can be a little more creative,” Cassidy said. “Maybe when he first broke in, he tried some of those moves, he’d get — not hit, but, you know, a piece of him, and he wasn’t able to hang on to it, so it’d come back the other way. Now, he can turn out of some of those, absorb some of the hit and still make the play. So some of it’s just physical strength, he’s able to have the puck longer. Confidence, obviously, right now he’s confident with his moves, like that spin move to the front of the net, so that has a little bit to do with it. Right now, when you’re feeling it, you tend to make a lot of right decisions. When you’re not feeling it, seems like every decision you make isn’t good, when there’s some level of risk-reward, so that’s part of it. Probably comfort in the league helps, he’s had record success. Put all those things together and I think he’s valued the other part of the game too, when to not put your teammates in a bad spot, more maturity.”
Pastrnak has eight goals and three assists for 11 points in his last four games, and after posting zeroes in the first two games of the season, he’s riding a seven-game point streak with his 10-7-17 totals. With his goal on Tuesday, he earned his 300th career point. The Bruins noted that he’s just the fourth player in franchise history to hit the 300 mark in fewer than 350 games played, joining a list with some Bruins legends.
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The others: Barry Pederson (235), Bobby Orr (279), and Ray Bourque (316). pic.twitter.com/pznvMjm8Wh
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) October 22, 2019
It’s been quite the run, and the highlight-reel tally on Tuesday will serve to shine some more light on what Pastrnak is in the midst of doing. The only question now is what will come next.