BOSTON — Desperately needing a win on home ice, the Bruins delivered an emphatic statement Wednesday night, lighting up the Pittsburgh Penguins in the third period en route to a 5-1 victory at TD Garden.
David Pastrnak turned in his best effort of the season for Boston, scoring twice and tying his career high with seven shots on goal, and the Bruins beat Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury three times in one five-minute span in the third to turn a tight contest into a rout.
The win gave the Bruins a season sweep of the Penguins, with Boston outscoring Pittsburgh 14-3 in those games.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Ryan Spooner slid a pass in front to Jimmy Hayes, and Hayes hammered it home to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead with 9:26 remaining in the third period.
The goal — just the second in 15 games for Hayes — capped a wild shift for the Bruins that also featured defenseman Adam McQuaid losing his helmet while blocking a Sidney Crosby shot and winger Brett Connolly getting leveled into his own bench.
From there, the Bruins just kept piling on. Landon Ferraro, who scrapped with Scott Wilson during the second period, scored his first goal since Dec. 9 to make it 4-1, and Brad Marchand followed with his team-leading 31st of the season to seal things.
Tuukka Rask recorded a season-high 41 saves in the win.
Pastrnak was everywhere in the early going, accounting for four of the Bruins’ first seven shots on goal and opening the scoring by converting on the first penalty shot of his young career.
Pastrnak was hooked down from behind after receiving a beautiful stretch pass from linemate David Krejci late in the first period, and he employed a hesitation move to beat Fleury 1-on-1 and put Boston on the board.
He wasn’t done, though. Pastrnak scored again at the 3:12 mark of the second period to make it 2-0 in favor of the home team. This goal was unassisted, as well, but Loui Eriksson helped make it happen with some aggressive forechecking on Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta.
The two-goal game was the third of Pastrnak’s career and his first since Jan. 13, 2015.
TAP IT IN
It took the Penguins 18 shots on goal to slip one past Rask, and their only tally of the night did not come without controversy.
Less than a minute after Pastrnak’s second goal, Pittsburgh center Oskar Sundqvist threw a shot on Rask from the left circle. The Bruins goaltender deflected it aside, but it slid right to Tom Kuhnhackl, who knocked it into the back of the net.
The puck went in off Kuhnhackl’s skate and never touched his stick, but officials reviewed the play and determined the Penguins winger did not use a kicking motion to direct the puck past Rask. The goal stood, trimming Boston’s lead to 2-1.
Pittsburgh peppered Rask with 28 shots through the first two periods — an offensive onslaught that quickly prompted Bruins coach Claude Julien to shift McQuaid up to the top pairing in an effort to contain the dangerous Crosby line.
CHARA DOWN, BUT NOT FOR LONG
Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara left the ice and headed down the tunnel after taking a Maatta shot off the side of the head less than 30 seconds into the first period.
The hulking blueliner spent just a few minutes away from the bench, however, and returned to the ice without missing a shift.
The Bruins head back on the road Friday night as they visit the Carolina Hurricanes for the first time this season.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images