By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — David Pastrnak is one of the most talented goal scorers in the entire world.READ MORE: 9 Hurt At Back Bay MBTA Station After Escalator Malfunction
If you remove the goalie from the equation and give him a clean look, he’s probably going to put the puck in the net 999 times out of 1,000.
On Saturday night against the Islanders, though, the world witnessed that one rare instance. And for the Bruins, it was tough to watch.
The opportunity arose early in Game 4 between the Bruins and the Islanders. Patrice Bergeron held the puck just long enough to draw everyone in a blue jersey toward him, thus leaving Pastrnak all alone for a one-time opportunity at the bottom of the left faceoff circle.
Bergeron made the pass, Pastrnak fired the shot, and with goaltender Semyon Varlamov well out of position, Pastrnak had the entirety of the 4-by-6-foot cage to hit.
But Pastrnak fired his shot about an inch wider than the window available to him, ringing the post. Varlamov scrambled to cover the puck, and the golden chance was blown.
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Though the final score — a 4-1 Islanders win — indicated a lopsided game, the score was tight through the majority of the night. The Bruins took a 1-0 early lead in the second period, but it was short-lived, as the Islanders tied it up less than three minutes later.
That 1-1 tie held until the 13:03 mark of the third period, when Mat Barzal whacked at a deflected puck and managed to get it past Tuukka Rask for the goal that proved to be the game-winner.
The Isles tacked on two empty-net goals, but this was an extraordinarily tight game — one where the Bruins surely could’ve benefited from Pastrnak burying the gimme early.
After the loss — which made it a 2-2 series as it heads back to Boston for Game 5 — Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said a moment like that can let you know that you might not be getting many fortunate breaks on a particular evening.
“That’s one where you know, boy, it might be a tough night for us tonight, in terms of getting things to go our way,” Cassidy said. “When your best player hits the post on an open net, and it just kind of sits there. Or it’s going to be one of those nights where you’re probably not getting breaks, so you’re gonna have to go earn them yourself.”
The Bruins did earn one break, with Brad Marchand battling in the crease to help set up David Krejci’s goal. But ultimately, they didn’t make life very difficult for Varlamov for the bulk of the evening, their second power-play unit was notably timid when it came to putting pucks on net, and they’d finish the game with their lowest offensive output of the postseason.
While some basic arithmetic would state that two goals would have been enough to at least force overtime on this night, obviously the game would have played out differently if Pastrnak had put the Bruins ahead 1-0 before the first intermission. While a goal there would have guaranteed nothing in terms of the end result, Cassidy nevertheless lamented the missed opportunity.
“At the end of the day, I don’t know if that makes a difference in the game or not,” Cassidy said. “I really don’t. It’s hindsight. I would have liked to see it go in. It didn’t happen.”MORE NEWS: First Afghan Refugees Arrive In Massachusetts
Pastrnak started the series with a bang, netting a hat trick in a Game 1 win in Boston. But he’s yet to score in the three games that have followed, and he may not ever get an easier opportunity than the one he missed on Saturday night.