Boston Bruins

Mar 3, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Boston Bruins center Craig Smith (12) celebrates with teammates after scoring his third goal of the game against the Vegas Golden Knights during the third period at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

To say that Bruins winger Craig Smith was due would be an understatement.

While the Bruins’ new third line with Charlie Coyle between Trent Frederic and Craig Smith has posted promising results since its inception, Smith, the line’s top shooting threat, remained in a dry spell. With just two goals in his previous 294 minutes and change, Smith broke out with two goals in his first 7:43 of Thursday’s meeting with the Golden Knights, and capped his night with a third for the hat trick on the way to a 5-2 victory at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The hat trick, Smith’s second with the Bruins since signing with the club in 2020, made him the fifth different Bruins skater to score a hat trick this season, joining a list that includes Patrice Bergeron, Jake DeBrusk, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak. It’s the franchise’s most in any single season since the Bruins had six players score a hat trick during the 1995-96 season, with Steve Heinze, Cam Neely, Adam Oates, Dave Reid, Jozef Stumpel, and Rick Tocchet all scoring hat tricks during that campaign.

Behind Smith’s hatty, Pastrnak helped the Bruins out with a pair of tallies, good for his 30th and 31st markers of the season.

For Pastrnak, it was his fifth time hitting the 30-goal mark with the Bruins, which moved into a tie with Bobby Orr for the seventh-most 30-goal seasons in team history. Only Peter McNab (six), Patrice Bergeron (six), Cam Neely (six), Johnny Bucyk (seven), Phil Esposito (eight), and Rick Middleton (eight) have hit the 30-goal mark more times than Pastrnak. It also made Pastrnak just the second player to hit the 30-goal mark with the B’s five times before turning 26, joining Neely in that group.

It was also a career night for Frederic, who finished with three helpers in the winning effort.

Jeremy Swayman, meanwhile, built off a sensational February with a promising March start that included 34 saves.

The Bruins will head to Columbus for a Saturday night head-to-head with the Blue Jackets.

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Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.