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Bruins Musings: Rask Wins In 500th Game And Pastrnak Dazzles in 4-2 Win Over Leafs

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Tuukka Rask got his 269th win in his 500th game; David Pastrnak was David Pastrnak and the Boston Bruins got more depth scoring in a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden Tuesday night.

Pastrnak had a goal of the year candidate and an assist Tuesday and while the rest of the top line stayed hot as Brad Marchand also scored, the Bruins finally got some more secondary scoring. Brett Ritchie and Par Lindholm both lit the lamp in the third period to help the Bruins pull away in a game that was tied 2-2 after two periods of play. Rask made 28 saves for his fourth win of the season. Rask still has yet to lose in regulation through five starts this season.

The win snapped the Bruins’ first winless streak of the season after they lost 4-3 in overtime to the Leafs in Toronto Saturday and 4-3 in a shootout to the Tampa Bay Lightning last Thursday in Boston. The Bruins were able to get four of a possible six points in that three-game stretch against two Atlantic Division foes and will now have the rest of the week off before they host the St. Louis Blues in a rematch of the Stanley Cup Final Saturday night.

Rask Appreciated The Moment, Fans And His Career

During an early stoppage in play in the first period, the jumbotron and subsequently the crowd afterwards, paid tribute to Rask for his 500th game and Rask made sure to let the fans know how much he has and continues to appreciate them by waving his stick to them.

“It’s one of those milestones you’re only going to hit once,” Rask said after the game. “And I wanted to recognize the crowd. They’ve been behind me and the team for so many years.”

Not all fans and especially a good portion of the local media has been behind Rask through the years, but Rask has done an amazing job of shrugging off the hate and embracing the positives.

“Every athlete should feel that I think,” Rask said. “You know sometimes you’re going to get criticized because that’s your job. Sometimes you suck and sometimes you don’t and you take it, but the fact is these fans are great! They love their sports and I think every athlete should feel appreciated and feel great to play in this kind of town.”

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Score The Goal Of The Year!

Pastrnak appeared to have his tenth goal of the season and in the last seven games when he beat Leafs goalie Michael Hutchinson at 11:48 of the first period, but the play was ruled offsides and the goal was taken back. The hottest player in the league right now, didn’t wait long to get score though as he beat Hutchinson at 17:15 with a power play goal that may be the goal of the year in the NHL thus far.

Pastrnak came around in front and scored a goal through his legs and five-hole on Hutchinson and left everyone in the building except maybe his teammates and head coach bewildered.

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“Everything catches my eye with him lately,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “He’s just on it, he’s on pucks, he’s strong, his conditioning seems great. He’s playing a lot of minutes, hard minutes against good players every night. Play-making ability, he’s making plays as well, getting his shot off. I think last year he was fighting the puck a little bit in the playoffs, for whatever reason. I think it was rust to be honest with you, a few times late in the year. He’s spot on this year.”

Secondary Scoring Finally Arrives – Following the loss to the Lightning last Thursday, Cassidy bluntly acknowledged to the media “If we get secondary scoring, we win.” Well on Saturday in the overtime loss to the Leafs, forward Jake DeBrusk snapped a seven-game season-opening goal-less streak and on Tuesday night against Toronto, secondary scoring was the difference. Ritchie scored the eventual gamewinner at 6:35 of the final frame and Lindholm sealed the deal at 17:57.

“I mean the other guys, it was coming, you could see it,” Cassidy said. “Ritchie’s starting to turn a corner a bit, [Charlie] Coyle and DeBrusk, they’ve been closer. They’re on pucks a little better, so I was happy for them to get rewarded. Not only that, I thought they did a better job getting out of their end, winning puck battles when it mattered, then it translated in the other end.”

Bjork Gets The Call Thanks To Injuries – Thanks to injuries to David Krejci, who was placed on injured reserve Tuesday prior to the game, Karson Kuhlman and Joakim Nordstrom, Anders Bjork was rewarded for his play in Providence (AHL) and got the call up to Boston for the game against the Leafs. Bjork played solid and finished with four shots on net in 20 shifts and 13:17 on ice. The 23-year-old winger did finish at a minus 1 but Cassidy was impressed with his game.

“I don’t think he hurt himself at all tonight,” Cassidy told the media. “With Kuhlman out, you lose a bit of that motor, a younger guy, get on pucks, and that’s where Bjorkie was good tonight. That’s what we’re looking for. Can he sustain it, can he be strong on it? And he was. He didn’t hurt us defensively, so that’s a good thing and that bodes well for him.”

Here’s what the lineup looked like:

 

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – Charlie Coyle – Brett Ritchie
Danton Heinen – Par Lindholm – David Backes
Chris Wagner – Sean Kuraly – Anders Bjork

Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Connor Clifton

Tuukka Rask

With 20 years of experience (SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, ESPNBoston, NESN, NHL.com, etc.) covering the Bruins, the NHL, NCAA and junior hockey and more, Jimmy Murphy’s hockey black book is full of Hall of Famers, current players, coaches, management, scouts and a wide array of hockey media personalities that have lived in and around this great game. For 17 of his 20 years as a hockey and sports reporter, Murph covered the Bruins on essentially a daily basis covering their victorious 2011 Stanley Cup run and their 2013 run to the Final as well. Murphy has hosted national and local radio shows and podcasts and also has experience in TV as well.

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