The way David Pastrnak is playing, you never would have thought he is just three games back from offseason hip surgery.
The Bruins winger compiled four points Wednesday, netting three goals with the game-tying tally in the final seconds of regulation, and ultimately propelled Boston to a 4-3 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center.
Pastrnak dominated the game literally from the opening faceoff to the final horn.
He scored his first goal just 12 seconds into the game. In the second period, he had another scoring opportunity in close after a beautiful move got him alone in front of the net. And he followed it up with two third-period goals and assisted on the game-winner from Patrice Bergeron in overtime.
“Every night can be different guy and today it was me,” Pastrnak told reporters after the win. “It was fun, especially coming back from the injury. To get these couple games under my belt and get the couple goals on the board, it’s good.”
Pastrnak now has seven points — five goals, two assists — in just three games this season. He admitted even he “probably” didn’t envision this fast of a start.
“I probably didn’t, but as soon as I stepped on the ice, and I felt like I did after the surgery, I knew I (could) get my conditioning up and be feeling great,” Pastrnak said.
He added the fact that he was entering his seventh season in Boston, and having the privilege of playing with Brad Marchand and Bergeron again, made it a lot easier.
“Teammates, linemates help me out with it. Playing (on the) same line many years, so there’s obviously a chemistry there, I don’t need to build a new chemistry,” Pastrnak said. “The recovery was really, really long. Something I haven’t had in my career so it’s been a long wait, and was itching to get back out there. That’s probably the two main factors.”
Perhaps Wednesday was the clearest sign the All-Star forward is ready to make another run at defending his 2020 Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy.
“As I said, overall it was character win and I think we deserved the two points today,” Pastrnak said.
Here are some other notes from Bruins-Flyers:
— While Pastrnak may have surprised himself a bit with the extent of his success early on, it’s not all that shocking to Tuukka Rask.
“Well, I mean, I think everybody expected that, I guess. That’s how he’s been,” Rask told reporters after making 22 saves. “He finds those open areas from where to shoot from and seems like when he hits the net, it’s in. So, he’s been working really hard before training camp to make sure he’s back out there earlier enough, and I think it shows.”
— Pastrnak’s individual night somewhat overshadowed the fact that Boston, again, came back from a two-goal deficit in the third period. The Flyers took at 3-1 lead at 8:41 of the stanza before Pastrnak’s second goal at 12:05 and third at 19:45.
Bruce Cassidy was impressed.
“It’s always good to win no matter what — whether it’s 1-0, 4-3, whatever,” Cassidy told reporters. “You can do it on the road, coming back, not abandoning ship. I know the third goal we probably pressed a little too much on the pinch. … We still worked hard, tried to get the next goal and play the right way and drew some penalties. So, it worked out for us.”
— Both Rask and Pastrnak, however, added while it was good to see the fight, it’s not something Boston should make a theme moving forward.
“Well, obviously, I don’t think you want to make a habit out of that. I think it’s important that when these things happen early on in the season you kind of find out that you have that in you,” Rask told reporters. “We’ve been down three goals in the past couple games, so to comeback, and even to get a point or win, it’s good to know we have it in us.
“We have a lot of young guys, it might be their first year of second year, so it builds their confidence and also the confidence of the locker room,” he continued. “I don’t think we want to make a habit out of that, like I said, but it’s great to have within your team.”
— Pastrnak also broke down his assist to Bergeron for the game-winner.
— The Bruins will take the ice again at Wells Fargo Center as they face the Flyers on Friday for the second contest of the two-game set.
— Boston now is 7-1-2 on the season with a 3-0 record against Philadelphia on the season, including two overtime wins.