By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
So much of this season has come back to the biggest 'problem' facing the Bruins: Do they keep the superhuman first line of Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak around Patrice Bergeron and remain a top-heavy bunch, or do they move Pastrnak down to a second line with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci in an attempt to have a greater balance for their postseason run?
But in a 6-3 win that saw No. 88 factor in on five goals, and with different linemates throughout the night, it actually might just be that Pastrnak and the Bruins are going to be fine no matter where they put him come the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Pastrnak first got the B's on the board with a power-play goal that simply looked too easy, as Bergeron found Marchand, who whistled a pass through the slot and to Pastrnak for a one-time bomb through Henrik Lundqvist.
David Pastrnak scored his 16th power-play goal of 2018-19.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 28, 2019
But back to five-on-five and moved to a line with Krejci and DeBrusk, Pastrnak broke through for his second goal of the contest off a few slaps to the ice and a great dish from Krejci to find him all alone on Lundqvist.
In a one-goal game in the third frame, Pastrnak decided to play the role of dishman, as he fed Jake DeBrusk on a brilliant sequence that ended with DeBrusk's 24th goal of the season and he and Pastrnak full-on tackling one another in celebration.
FIVE POINT NIGHT FOR DAVID PASTRNAK. It was a great night to win a hockey game. pic.twitter.com/4UrWBti24o
— Marina Molnar (@mkmolnar) March 28, 2019
But the smiling Czech wing could not be stopped in this game, and collected his third goal of the night by way of another power-play bomb that Lundqvist had simply no prayer of stopping.
The three-goal night was good for Pastrnak's third hat trick of the season, making him the first Bruins skater to have at least three hat tricks in one season since Cam Neely accomplished the feat in 1993-94.
Pastrnak would come through with another helper, too, this time on the Bergeron power-play tip that made it a 5-2 game, while Charlie McAvoy beat his childhood team just 49 seconds later to give the Black and Gold a 6-2 edge.
Mika Zibanejad scored a box score goal for the Rangers, his second of the night, to make it a 6-3 game with three seconds left.
B's netminder Jaroslav Halak made 20 saves in the win, good for his 21st victory of the season.
Torey Krug returned to action after a six-game layoff due to a concussion. It was a productive return to action for Krug, too, as he came through with the secondary assist on Pastrnak's second-period strike. With that assist, Krug passed Craig Janney for the most career points by an American-born Bruins skater, with 284.
Marcus Johansson also made his return to the Boston lineup. Johansson had missed the previous 10 games due to a lung contusion. Johanasson was clearly limited as the Bruins shuffled their lines around amid a penalty-filled night, though, and finished the game with just 12:16 of time on ice (fourth-lowest among B's forwards).
With the win, the Bruins also avoided a season series sweep at the hands of the Rangers.
The Bruins are back at it Saturday afternoon against the Florida Panthers.