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Five Takeaways: Pasta Tricks Habs Again, Marchand Dishes The Sauce



David Pastrnak notched his fourth hat trick of the season, and Patrice Bergeron sealed the deal with an empty-netter with 20 seconds left in regulation as the Boston Bruins (35-11-12, 82 points) beat the Montreal Canadiens (27-25-7, 61 points) 4-1 Wednesday in their final meeting of the 2019-20 season. Brad Marchand had three helpers in the win that gave the Bruins a 3-1-0 record against their archrivals this season.

The Bruins now lead the Tampa Bay Lightning (37-15-5, 79 points) by three points in the Atlantic Division lead and the Washington Capitals (36-15-5, 77 points) by five points for the top seed in the Eastern Conference and the NHL. The Capitals have two games in hand on the Bruins, and the Lightning has one. 

Here’s your BHN Five Takeaways:

Three Helpings Of Pasta Again Please

Pastrnak broke his mini five-game slump in a big way as he notched his fourth hat trick of the season and became the first Bruin with four since Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr each sent hats flying in the 1974-75 season.

Pastrnak also surpassed Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews, and Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin for the league lead in goals with 41. He is the first Bruin since Glen Murray in 2002-03 to crack the 40-goal plateau. 

Pastrnak once again left his head coach in awe. During his recent goalless stretch, Pastrnak remained upbeat when the team was winning and was more frustrated about their six-game winning streak being snapped in Detroit last Sunday than about the fact he had four shots and no goals in the 2-1 loss to the Red Wings 

“It’s great,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said of Pastrnak’s team-first mentality. “You want guys to be upset when they’re losing, take whatever level they have to personally, feel that they can give more. They don’t have to beat themselves up by any means. You want them to keep making plays that are in front of them. The play he made the other night to Torey [Krug], he could’ve shot, he chose to give it to the – Torey wasn’t wide open, but a chance for a tap-in, so he’s not a selfish player in that regard, and that’s a word you want to really avoid with your players. 

You want to keep them out of the locker room, guys that are selfish. There has to be a little bit of, in goal scorers, a little bit of that attitude that you can score, so selfish in terms of shooting pucks never a bad play. Selfish about not scoring and the team is having success is not good, so you’ve got to get that out of it, and he’s never had that, so good for him. I think it’s what makes him a special player, and especially at a young age, because sometimes it takes a while to sort of learn those sort of traits, but he’s had good character since he walked in the door, and I think it will just continue to grow.”

Pastrnak’s first goal of the game at 6:59 of the first period gave him a career-high of 39 lamplighters. Pastrnak took a beautiful feed from Marchand after the Bruins winger dangled his way through the Canadiens defense.

He then padded that career-high to 40 goals when he capped off a two-on-one with Sean Kuraly at 4:16 of the second period to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead. 

Pastrnak completed the hat trick on the powerplay when he beat Price from a bad angle on a broken play at 15:45 to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead and seemingly deflate the Canadiens who were still pressuring to tie the game at two. 

Marchand Dishing Sauce

Marchand has gone through some extended scoring cold spells this season, with the longest being a 12-game stretch between November 29 and December 21. However, Marchand usually finds his way onto the score sheet with one or more assists. In fact, his longest pointless stretch came over the last three games, and he snapped that with some ferocity on Wednesday as he had three helpers and, as head coach Bruce Cassidy pointed out after the game, did “everything but score” on Pastrnak’s first goal. 

As Cassidy went on to explain, Marchand, as he does almost every game, played with purpose and initiative, putting his team on his back in a big game. 

“He had lots of initiative,” Cassidy said. “The first goal, he did the majority of the work. Pasta [Pastrnak] went to the right place, of course, to finish, which he typically does. It’s like the other goal, Sean [Kuraly] did a lot of work — now, Pasta had great hands, allowed them to cut back, of which we’ve seen lots. But I agree with you, I think Marchy [Brad Marchand] was dialed in today. Did a lot of things well, wanted to be a driver in the game for that line, and I thought he was.”

Rask Shut The Door Early

Almost immediately after Pastrnak put the Bruins up 1-0, Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher had a point-blank chance on the doorstep. Seconds later, teammate Nick Cousins had one as well. Tuukka Rask, as he does so often, shut the door on any potential momentum the Canadiens could’ve gotten by tying the game there. Rask finished with 28 saves, but those two were pivotal in the Bruins maintaining control of the game.

“Yeah, definitely that backdoor play, that’s a goal every time, so it’s unbelievable,” Pastrnak said of Rask’s save on Cousins. “It’s definitely one of those momentums, and the game can be 1-1 and all of a sudden it’s still 1-0, and then you just keep going. Tuukka just keeps making those saves the whole season, the whole year, and he’s obviously a big part of our team, and he’s always standing on his head.”

The Rivalry Is Still Alive

There was a lot of chatter prior to the game Wednesday night that the Bruins-Habs rivalry was dying. Some of it stemmed from the fact that the Canadiens haven’t beaten the Bruins in the playoffs since the 2007-08 season and more so that the Canadiens could miss the playoffs for a third straight season while the Bruins continue to contend for the Stanley Cup. Well, there was plenty of bitterness and chippiness Wednesday as Marchand got into a tussle with Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry; Zdeno Chara smacked Gallagher with a jab to the face after the two yapped at each other waiting for a faceoff and Jonathan Drouin and Chris Wagner got into it as well. 

“There should be some chippiness,” Cassidy said. “We talked about that this morning. It’s good to see it. I mean, we only play them four times; that’s another reason why you lose some of the rivalry. It used to be eight times at least, so you don’t see them as much to develop that hatred. You don’t get them in a back-to-back anymore; there probably was [sic] some of those games back in the day. I liked the way we handled it.”

Scouts Row Packed

With the NHL Trade Deadline (February 24) less than two weeks away, scouts row in the TD Garden press box was packed. Most notable was the Tampa Bay Lightning, who had three scouts in attendance. That’s a bit ironic since the Bolts are definitely not planning on any trades with the Bruins, who they’re chasing for the division and conference lead, so who could they be watching on the Habs?

Here’s how scouts row lined up Wednesday:

Lightning (3)
Flames (local)
Kings (Local)
Blues (Chiarelli)

With 20 years of experience (SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, ESPNBoston, NESN,, 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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