Here’s something you won’t read often: Bruins superstar David Pastrnak is in a slump.
And by his standards, it’s a bad one.
It’s been one four straight games without a goal for the reigning Rocket Richard winner, and he’s added just one helper over that stretch. The last time Pastrnak has had a stretch with just one point in four games came back in Nov. 2019. And if you’re looking for the last time he had just one point in four games without scoring a goal, you have to go all the way back to the middle of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when Pastrnak was playing through a re-broken thumb.
So, no, this is not normal.
The suggested cure from Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy? Get dirty.
“He plays 20 minutes a night, I can move him around with everybody, but part of it is I don’t think he’s in the interior nearly as much as he needs to be,” Cassidy said after Wednesday’s skate. “A lot of poke-and-go stuff, looking for the one-on-one moves. He has them, but defenders know that he’s gonna try that. They’re more aware of it.
“[Pastrnak] just has to get a little dirtier with his linemates.”
Pastrnak’s linemate, Brad Marchand, has no problem getting his hands dirty. Hell, he did exactly that when he ragdolled Jesper Bratt and scored to help start spark Boston’s comeback win over the Devils on Tuesday night. And Bergeron’s dirt-per-60 has always been through the roof. Just ask his recently-sacrificed nose. But for someone like Pastrnak, who wrecks more water bottles than bodies, it starts with grimier goals and grinding through the misses.
“They’ve had some tough luck; I think Bergeron hit a bar [Tuesday], Pastrnak hit one on the power play,” Cassidy noted. “They’ve had a little tough luck around the net with their shots, but they gotta get back to scoring some greasy goals. They typically will do that [and] eventually find their way.”
Cassidy, who moved Pastrnak down to David Krejci’s wing at times throughout Tuesday’s win, also wants to see that happen with Bergeron and Marchand given the sudden breakthrough from the Bruins’ second line with Nick Ritchie and Craig Smith on Krejci’s wings.
“We’ve been searching for that for a while, so we don’t want to disrupt that,” Cassidy admitted.
The good news: Pastrnak will his next chance to get dirty and break out of his mini-slump against a Penguins team currently without their No. 1 goalie, and with a stat line that’s included nine goals and 23 points in 16 career meetings with Pittsburgh.