David Pastrnak’s 4-goal game reminds Bruins what could’ve been last June

Matt Kalman
October 14, 2019 - 5:58 pm

As long as David Pastrnak doesn’t go out to celebrate his four-goal game with teammates and then have a wrestling match with a sidewalk, the Bruins forward should be well on his way to a 40- or 50-goal season before making a bigger splash than ever in the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Pastrnak is on fire. With four goals – a career high and his fifth NHL regular season hat trick – Monday, he now has six goals in the first six games. Eighty-two-goal season anyone?

Although Pastrnak isn’t likely to score a goal per game, we’ve seen him increase his goal total from 34 to 35 to 38 each of the past three seasons, despite missing 16 games last season because of thumb surgery.

He could’ve been in the upper echelon of goal scorers last season, and now if he stays healthy this should be his breakout year.

“I think I can, it just will take time,” he said after a 4-2 win against Anaheim at TD Garden.

Pastrnak refused to use his thumb as an excuse last year, and he still managed to get 19 points in 24 postseason games, but for every denial that the thumb was a factor, you could pull a replay of a mishandled puck or a fanned-on shot that would tell you that February night on a Boston street that sent Pastrnak to the surgeon’s table cost the Bruins big time.

The win against the Ducks served as a reminder of the contrast between the Bruins with a healthy Pastrnak and one needing to strengthen his left thumb rather than risking it getting sliced off by a Ryan O’Reilly or Alex Pietrangelo slash.

His power-play one-timer at 4:18 that started the game’s scoring was vintage Pastrnak. His wrist shot from the left hashmarks that made the score 3-1 showed the variety of his arsenal. And his fourth goal, another power-play score, was representative of his willingness to go to the net.

Not to compare October Anaheim with June St. Louis, but Pastrnak would’ve had more than two goals and two assists in the seven-game Final had he been in better condition.

A healthy Pastrnak is also a confident Pastrnak, who wasn’t shy about claiming he knew a big game was in store when he showed up at the rink.

“Yeah, as soon as I put the suit on today, I knew it. I felt good after breakfast and afternoon games are fun, I like that. Just a couple plays, no time for thinking, no time to overthink stuff, just wake up, go out there and play,” he said.

The Bruins still haven’t solved their secondary scoring problem, but who needs balanced offense when you have a line – Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron – that could surpass 90 points each?

Honestly the Bruins are going to need more production from a lot of people to make it through the entire 82-game grind of the NHL schedule and finish near the top of the standings. It’s great for them, though, that they can be 5-1-0 on the strength of rock-solid goaltending from Jaroslav Halak (30 saves against the Ducks) and Tuukka Rask, a high-flying power play and their first line led by a right wing that should challenge for the Maurice Richard Trophy (with Marchand possibly keeping pace with him).

“Yeah I mean what are we six games into the season? There’s a lot of things we can fix as a team,” Pastrnak said. “But obviously we’ll still getting points in the standings, which shows how good a team we are. But we know we can be way better than we’ve been playing in some of those games, so it’s good, positive that we’re getting the points. But in the room we’ve got another level in here.”

Maybe the focus should be on looking for secondary scoring or cleaning up Boston’s second-period struggles. It should be on keeping Pastrnak safe, brining the parties and team celebrations to his apartment, and making sure if he does go out he’s picked up and delivered door to door without any interactions with cracks or ice on the sidewalks.