BOSTON — Rookie forward David Pastrnak has given the Bruins’ offense a much-needed jolt of skill, speed and energy.
He scored two goals in Tuesday night’s 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden for his second straight multi-goal game.
“I enjoy watching him play,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said. “I think he’s made unbelievable strides in a half year of being in Providence and coming up with us a little bit and going back. I think it was good for him to see certain things that he wanted to improve on, and he’s such a smart player, he knows; he figures those things out pretty quickly. I think he’s come back an even better player.
“His speed, his skill level, was never an issue. But he’s becoming more reliable in other areas as well and he’s not afraid to go in the corners. He doesn’t have to lay hits he just has to be smart enough to come up with the puck and not afraid to go to the front of the net. I’ve seen a real big improvement in his game. So, got to give credit to those guys in Providence that have been working with him and give him a lot of credit for adapting so quickly.”
Let’s rank all four of Pastrnak’s goals from his brief eight-game NHL career.
1. Goal 3, Scored vs. Tampa Bay Lightning on Jan. 13
This is the kind of skill the Bruins’ offense has been lacking for long stretches this season. Pastrnak receives a pass form Milan Lucic at the blue line and immediately heads toward the net. He skated right past Lightning defenseman Matt Carle and evaded Ben Bishop’s poke check with a nice deke. It rivals Seth Griffith for the best Bruins goal of the season.
2. Goal 4, Scored vs. Tampa Bay Lightning on Jan. 13
Wraparounds always are challenging, especially against a goalie like Bishop who has great length and athleticism with his 6-foot-7 frame. After gaining possession of the puck on a rebound, Pastrnak beat Bishop to the left post to score his second goal of Tuesday’s game. Credit the rookie winger for realizing how far Bishop had drifted to one side and making the split-second decision to attempt the wraparound shot.
3. Goal 2, Scored vs. Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 10
Pastrnak’s one-timer that beat Flyers goalie Ray Emery was impressive, but the buildup was the best part of this goal. After entering the offensive zone, the 18-year-old forward made a nice drop pass to David Krejci, then went to the front of the net and positioned himself for a shot. Krejci made a perfect pass to set up the goal, culminating in a well-executed play.
4. Goal 1, Scored vs. Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 10
Pastrnak has great awareness in the attacking zone and understands which areas to skate into to score goals. We saw evidence of this on his first career NHL goal when he went to the front of the net and capitalized on a rebound for a Bruins power-play tally.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images