The young Czech right wing is quickly living up to his superstar role
The Bruins knew Toronto would come out swinging after suffering a 5-1 loss last Thursday night at the Garden. As the story goes for this Boston team, the Bruins do not give up, nor will they let how they ended their regular season dictate their gameplay against a tough Maple Leafs team. The playoffs is a whole new beast and, so far, the Black and Gold have come out in full force with a quick 2-0 lead in the series. The Leafs had the Bruins’ number all season but now find themselves playing catch up. The Bruins haven’t played perfect, and there are still a few things that need to be tightened up. But boy are they having fun. And no one is having more fun than the ever-smiling David Pastrňák.
A BARGAIN FOR A HOT SUPERSTAR
Last summer there was some panic among Bruins fans as preseason was about to start with no new contract securing the 21-year-old Pastrňák. With the Bruins shaky history of letting talent go, some were calling for Sweeney and Cam Neely to move with more urgency in signing Pastrňák. But Don Sweeney wasn’t too fazed and didn’t have a timetable. A little back and forth and Sweeney finally was able to sign the young Czech to a $40 million dollar contract for six years. After a breakout year last season, “Pasta” would only get better. So far the young Czech has not disappointed. The good part? He will be a Bruin during his developing career. What he’s getting in comparison to someone like Connor McDavid (who signed a ridiculous $100 million extension and isn’t even in the playoffs this year), you’ve got to hand it to Sweeney. He did good in securing the young superstar.
A FORMIDABLE LINE
Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrňák. One of NHL’s most destructive lines. As one reporter had to remind Toronto’s Auston Matthews, that line alone has garnered 20 points in just two games. During the regular season, all three players lead the team in goals, assist and points, making them, as NBC’s Sports Boston Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty calls them, “The Perfection Line.” And for Pastrňák, Saturday’s game was nothing short of historic and record-breaking.
BY THE NUMBERS
At just age 21 years old, Pastrňák has become the youngest NHL player in history to record six points in a playoff game, surpassing Wayne Gretzky. He is the first Bruin since Phil Esposito to have three goals and six points in a playoff game. He also garnered his first playoff career hat trick along with getting nine points total so far in the playoffs. Let’s not forget that Pastrňák is still developing as a player and still feels like he’s learning a lot from his linemates. Patrice Bergeron had this to say:
“That’s what amazes me with him. There’s a lot of skilled players who are skilled when they have the puck, but when they don’t have it, they don’t necessarily want it as much as this guy”
The Leafs are frustrated and as we head into Game 3 in Toronto, the Bruins will need to continue to overwhelm their opponent while exploiting their lack of defense. Speed is Toronto’s forte and if Boston can shut that down, this series will quickly be lost. Even though Boston is leading the series, it’s still too early to count out the Leafs. It’s a battle between two young teams that are technically still developing. Does Toronto still have that passion to make a comeback? After all, this is hockey and anything can happen. The hockey Gods show no mercy. But for those wearing the spoked B, rest assured our guys are hungry and they want the cup. For Pastrňák, I have a sneaky suspicion that he’s just getting started.
All Photos courtesy of NHL Bruins Website
Follow Liz Rizzo on twitter @pastagrl88