David Pastrnak scores two in 2023 preseason debut
To say that David Pastrnak has tortured the Philadelphia Flyers since entering the league would be a gross understatement. In 28 career games against the Flyers, Pastrnak has recorded a staggering 24 goals and 39 points. The kind of numbers that get your face plastered under ‘WANTED’ posters on Broad Street, really.
And it turns out that not even the preseason can save the Flyers from Pastrnak shredding this team, as No. 88 welcomed himself back to game action with a pair of goals in a 4-3 shootout loss Friday night at TD Garden.
Even so, Pastrnak still found himself looking for some of his regular-season touch after this contest.
“Physically, it’s good. It’s mentally and position-wise, you feel a little lost and you’re trying to get the brain and legs going at the same time after two month of just skating up and down the ice,” Pastrnak said of his performance. “The first game’s always, always like that. So, personally, I’m happy that that’s behind me.”
While Pastrnak was hard on himself, the Bruins can take comfort in the fact that both of Pastrnak’s goals were response markers to Philly tallies. The first of which came on a power-play rip (and after about a billion almost-goals scored by Boston’s de facto top unit), while the second came with a special flavor of sorts, as Pastrnak jumped the play and intercepted a Philly pass for an all-alone look and strike on the Philadelphia net.
“I tried to mix it up a little bit,” Pastrnak said of the unassisted marker. “You know, you skate for two and a half months and [you’re] kind of alone or practicing and trying new stuff. I tried it and it’s one of these [plays] where it’s a high-risk, high-reward because you could be on the other side as well.”
Knotted up at 2-2 in the second period, the Bruins broke through for their third goal of the evening on a shot from Danton Heinen that trickled through Flyers netminder Cal Petersen at the 15:00 mark of the middle frame.
The goal was the first of the preseason for Heinen, who is back with the Bruins on a pro tryout, and came on a night that saw him skate in a premier spot with Brad Marchand. Heinen also had a brilliant third-period look on a feed from Georgii Merkulov in a two-on-two rush toward the Philly net, but was denied by Petersen.
Fighting for a contract, Heinen admitted that this game felt a lot better than his first, and is embracing the pressure that comes with being in camp on a tryout and without a deal to your name.
“You put pressure on yourself because you wanna be part of it so badly,” Heinen, who has spent the last two seasons with the Penguins, said of his chance with the Bruins. “I’ve put this jersey on before. I know how special it is.”
Heinen’s second-period marker would not as the game-winning tally in this contest, however, as the seas parted for the Flyers’ Bobby Brink at the 4:07 mark of the third period, and opened the door to a tied game.
And in the shootout, the Flyers scored goals on back-to-back looks while the Bruins went 0-for-2 (with attempts from Pastrnak and Matt Poitras) on their chances to give a 4-3 victory.
In addition to Marchand and Pastrnak, this game also featured the preseason debuts of NHL notables such as Pavel Zacha, Charlie McAvoy, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Hampus Lindholm.
In goal, the Bruins’ Linus Ullmark stopped 33 of 36 shots faced in his first action of the warm-up slate. Ullmark’s night also required a penalty-shot save with 2:12 left in the overtime frame.
The Bruins will continue their preseason Monday night when the B’s head to Philly for a rematch with the Flyers.