David Pastrnak broke his scoring drought in the Bruins’ dominant Game 4 win Friday night. And it feels like the proverbial floodgates have opened.
Pastrnak scored and assisted on a deflection goal by Brad Marchand in Boston’s 4-1 victory, adding a lit lamp to what’s been an active series for the 24-year-old. He led the Bruins in shots on goal, total shot attempts, and scoring chances. Pastrnak also contributed one of the Bruins’ 17 blocked shots and was not credited with a giveaway.
For a guy coming off another scoreless game which included a bad turnover that led to a Caps goal, Pastrnak had about as good of a response as you can expect.
But this dismantling of D.C. was a total team effort, and that’s where Pastrnak gave his credit.
“It was obviously nice to score a goal, you know, but the important part is that we’re winning, and that’s the main focus,” Pastrnak said. “Obviously everybody loves scoring, but in the playoffs it doesn’t really matter as long as you get the win.”
Pastrnak appeared to get his first goal of the series late in the second period, but Marchand chopped the puck with his stick to bounce it past Capitals goalie Ilya Samsonov. That turned out to be the watershed for Pastrnak, anyway, as he came back out to start the third and finally found daylight with his shot on a power play.
“I just tried to keep shooting,” Pastrnak said. “Even last game, I think I had a lot of great opportunities to score, and sometimes the goalie just made a good save or I rushed it a little bit. It’s always good when you’re getting good chances and you know it’s right there. At the same time, sometimes it’s frustrating when you’re getting a lot of chances but it doesn’t go in. But like I said, just going to stay with it. Our main focus is to keep shooting pucks on net.”
Pastrnak’s breakout felt inevitable. Turnovers and missed shots aside, the first three games of the series felt more like Pastrnak was cursed rather than disappearing. Head coach Bruce Cassidy wasn’t terribly surprised to see “Pasta” finally find the scoresheet as his continued aggressiveness paid off.
“He’s worked hard and he’s gotten himself in position to shoot the puck,” Cassidy said. “We design plays to get him his shot, because he can score goals. We have a number of different looks. You watch practice, you see them. At the end of the day, good for him, he’s a sniper, and as you said, maybe this gets him feeling better about his shot. He’s still making plays, playing hard.
“Eventually you get those looks. He’s too good of a scorer. They’ll go in, and they did.”
We’ll see if this performance is a sign of future success for Pastrnak, or a one-off. But it felt good for all of Boston to see him finally break through.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.