BOSTON — Well, David Pastrnak is back.
Playing in his fifth game since returning from injury, Pastrnak recorded a hat trick in the Boston Bruins’ 6-3 win over the New York Rangers on Wednesday at TD Garden.
The winger had a hand in all but one of the Bruins’ goals, providing the assist on tallies by Jake DeBrusk and Patrice Bergeron. Charlie McAvoy scored Boston’s sixth goal, the only one Pastrnak didn’t play some role in.
Mika Zibanejad and Ryan Strome accounted for New York’s two goals.
Jaroslav Halak made 20 saves for the Bruins, while Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist turned away 26 shots.
The Bruins climbed to 47-21-9 with the win, while the Rangers fell to 29-34-13 with the loss.
Here’s how it all went down:
POWER PLAY MASTERCLASS
Both teams got one chance on the power play in the first period, and both made good use of the opportunity.
The Rangers gave the Bruins a pretty quick advantage, getting whistled for too many men on the ice at 2:29, which Pavel Buchnevich served. The Bruins needed just 19 seconds to capitalize.
Brad Marchand fed Bergeron with a pass, but quickly received the puck back after multiple Rangers crashed on the center. Marchand held the puck for a moment at the bottom of the circle before sending it across the slot to a wide-open Pastrnak, who one-timed home his 34th goal of the season at 2:48.
Bergeron’s assist on the goal was his 76th point of the season, which is a career high.
With just a few minutes left in the period, the Rangers equalized on their one power play opportunity.
Zdeno Chara was penalized for delay of game at 14:51, and after the Bruins initially did a good job killing the penalty, they broke down. Kevin Shattenkirk led the Rangers out from the back, and before getting out of his own zone, hit Buchnevich with a pass.
Buchnevich found Strome, who then whipped the puck across the offensive zone, catching Zibanejad in stride a few feet from the crease. The 25-year-old faked like he was going to his backhand, but instead slipped it past Halak at 16:29.
The Bruins ultimately outshot the Rangers 13-10 in the opening period.
SECOND SERVING OF PASTA
The Bruins finished the middle 20 minutes ahead 2-1 thanks to Pastrnak’s second goal of the night.
Shortly before the midway point of the period, Pastrnak began to clear the puck out of the defensive zone, hitting Torey Krug at Boston’s blue line. Krug redirected the puck over to David Krejci in the neutral zone, and he then gained the offensive zone.
After fighting off a check from Tony DeAngelo, Krejci went darting toward the net, and at the last second he backhanded a pass across the slot to Pastrnak. The winger one-timed his second goal of the game past Lundqvist at 9:15.
The period finished with the two sides playing 4-on-4 after Bergeron and Lias Andersson both were served with roughing penalties. Bergeron took exception to a hit along the boards from Andersson, which led to a minor scrap, which you can watch here.
PASTA GETS THE HATTIE
Four goals were scored in the third period, three by the Bruins and one by the Rangers. The third goal of the stanza was yet another tally by Pastrnak, giving him a hat trick.
A few minutes into the third, Chara ended a shift by sending a blue line-to-blue line pass to Krejci, with the center then getting the puck over to Pastrnak. The winger carried the puck deep, luring Lundqvist over to the near post, then sent a no-look pass across the slot to DeBrusk, who had little issue finishing Boston’s third goal at 3:19.
The Rangers pulled back within one a few minutes later.
Chara couldn’t handle a pass behind the net from Halak, allowing New York to gain possession deep in its offensive zone. The Rangers worked the puck around until Brady Skjei put a bad-angle shot on net. Halak made a stop but left a rebound, and with sticks swatting away at the puck, it eventually was Strome who connected to bury the goal and make it 3-2 at 5:43 in the third.
With just over seven minutes to play, Pastrnak put the game out of reach with his third goal of the game.
Marchand sent a pass up to Krug at the point, and the defenseman then moved it over to Pastrnak at the top of the circle. The winger uncorked a missile that Lundqvist got a piece of, but not enough to stop it all the way. The puck trickled past him and into the net at 12:52.
The Bruins got some more chances in the final five minutes of the game, with the Rangers getting hit with a pair of penalties that allowed Boston 1:29 of 5-on-3.
Boston cashed in on both penalties.
First, Pastrnak threw a puck on the net that Bergeron redirected past Lundqvist, upping Boston’s lead to 5-2 at 16:23.