Why Chris Driedger Seemed Out Of Place On David Pastrnak Winner

Driedger was playing the pass, which usually isn't the best idea when Pastrnak has the puck

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February 2

Chris Driedger, playing in his first game since Jan. 15, largely looked good Tuesday night, but when it mattered most he let in a goal he wishes he could have back.

“Wasn’t really happy with the third one I let in there. It’s pretty deflating,” Driedger told reporters after the game. “That one’s on me, it’s frustrating when we come back, score two in the third like that, and obviously we want to get that third one.”

Tied 2-2 in the Boston Bruins’ game against Driedger and the Seattle Kraken, the Bruins had a third-period power play. The puck eventually found its way to David Pastrnak, who uncorked a one-timer from his office that beat Driedger for what proved to be the game-winning goal.

Every scouting report on Pastrnak says he’s probably going to unload a one-timer in that spot, but Driedger looked like he was playing more in the middle of his crease instead of protecting the near post.

That was by design, but the potential benefit of playing it that way went up in smoke when Pastrnak decided to shoot.

“I honestly thought he was passing it backdoor there,” Driedger said. “Puck was up on its edge a little bit, so I wasn’t sure if he was trying to hit (Hall) so that’s kind of what I was thinking. But whenever it hits off your glove and floats back, I’m never happy with those.

“Obviously an elite player, but there’s a lot of elite players in this league,” Driedger said of Pastrnak. “You’ve got to stop them if you want to be good yourself.”

You can argue this either way. It’s legitimate that Driedger should have just squared up and gone all-in on the idea of shooting, no one could have blamed him for that. But the Bruins had three guys near the blue line, and that sucked most everyone up high, to the point that Taylor Hall was standing at the far post and the closest player to him was defenseman Adam Larsson, who was in the slot. If a Pastrnak pass to Hall got through, it would have been easy money for the winger.

Either way, chalk it up to a defensive breakdown. Driedger is being a good teammate for shouldering the blame, but it’s hardly 100% on him.

Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images
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