BOSTON — Has David Pastrnak turned a corner?
The Boston Bruins winger — who scored 38 goals and had 43 assists in the 2018-19 NHL regular season — seemed out of place throughout the postseason despite having seven points through the first nine games.
Head coach Bruce Cassidy bumped Pastrnak from line to line against the Blue Jackets in hopes to start some sort of spark, and something seemed to click in Game 4 when he notched two points (one goal, one assist) to help the B’s tie the second-round series 2-2 with Columbus.
The momentum carried over into Game 5, and Pastrnak played a pivotal role in Boston’s 4-3 win in Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead Saturday night at TD Garden. The 22-year-old potted a pair of goals, including the game-winner with just 1:28 left in the game.
“He came through for us,” Cassidy said after the game. “… The goal off the rush helps him. I’m glad he didn’t overthink it, shot it, went to net with the other one. I also believe David was OK, like everyone else he put pressure on himself. He’s a good kid, he’s a pretty even-keeled kid … he’s always going to fight through it, not gonna disappear. He took a huge hit the other night, bounced back and scored right after that.”
Cassidy pointed to the fact that Pastrnak just needed “something good to happen” to end his slump.
“He’s a competitive guy,” Cassidy said. “But like a lot of scorers he needs something good to happen for him generally to get the ball rolling, It happened the other night (in Game 4) and continued tonight.”
If Pastrnak indeed has found his groove, that spells bad news for Columbus.
Here are some other notes from Saturday’s Bruins-Blue Jackets Game 5:
— The B’s top line of Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron looked how they had all season — unstoppable.
The trio combined for six points on the night, with Bergeron being the only one without a goal. But they seem to all be on the same page again. And Cassidy was pleased to see them heat up.
“I think tonight was an excellent game for them,” the head coach said. “When your offensive guys and your players like those guys that put a lot of pressure on themselves to lead both production-wise, effort-wise, details, if it doesn’t go your way there’s a level of frustration. They’re humans. So now they break through the other night … they’re back to feeling good about themselves. Listen … they’re dominant when they’re on and they’re very good even they’re not on. If they start feeling it, it’s a tall task for the other team.”
— David Krejci’s goal in the second period marked his 95th career playoff point.
The center has 35 goals and 60 assists.
— Brad Marchand had Boston’s second tally, which put him in some pretty good company.
— Both Tuukka Rask and Sergei Bobrovsky were incredible in net tonight, as they have been all series.
Rask stopped 33 shots while Bobrovsky turned away 32.
— The Bruins are just one win away from advancing to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 2013 as the series shifts back to Columbus for Game 6 on Monday.