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Five Takeaways: Penalty Kill Gets Game To OT And Pastrnak Rewards Them

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David Pastrnak took a beautiful feed from David Krejci and scored his 43rd of the season 1:14 into overtime as the Boston Bruins beat the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 to win their fourth straight game. Pastrnak also assisted on Patrice Bergeron’s 27th goal of the season to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead in the first period. Brad Marchand had the other helper. 

Sam Gagner had the lone goal for the Oilers 3:42 into the third period. Ethan Bear and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had the helpers.

Tuukka Rask made 27 saves and Oilers goalie Mike Smith made 32 saves in the loss. 

The B’s have now opened their four-game road trip with two straight wins with games in Calgary Friday and at Vancouver Saturday. The Bruins (38-11-12, 88 points) now lead the Tampa Bay Lightning (40-15-5, 85 points) by three points for the Atlantic Division lead and are now eight points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins (37-15-6, 80 points) for the tp seed in the Eastern Conference.

A Coach’s Dream

There is a reason the Bruins’ top line is called ‘The Perfection Line’. Unlike so many top trios in the NHL that are known for their offense and finesse, the Bruins’ top line of Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak is as close to perfect as you can get and simply a coach’s dream. 

Bergeron’s 27th goal of the season that put the Bruins up 1-0 8:28 into the opening frame was exactly how any coach wants their players – especially those who can sometimes get by on talent – playing. Ironically, the most offensively skilled player, Pastrnak makes the brilliant defensive play in the neutral zone to reverse the play back into the offensive zone. Then, as Pastrnak is doing that, Marchand, still below the blue line, sees Pastrnak back-checking and gaining control and rushes out to get onside, takes the pass from Pastrnak and finds Bergeron streaking up the middle. Bergeron then makes a filthy move on Smith and textbook play is ready for coaches across the world to teach forwards, no matter how skilled you are, to do the little things.

Bergeron now has a goal in each of his last four games and Marchand now has assists in four straight games with six helpers during that span.

Now that we’ve got the teaching portion out of the way, let’s enjoy that skill and Pastrnak’s overtime winner, while not with his usual linemates is an example of how lethal he, Marchand and Bergeron can be even when they’re not on the ice together. Pastrnak took the beautiful Tom Brady-esque pass and put his skill on display with a pure goal scorer’s move to beat Smith and win the game. Pastrnak also tied Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews for the league-lead in goals and has five goals in his last four games.

PK Continues To Nail Out PP

This game pitted the best powerplay (Oilers) against the third-best penalty kill (Bruins) and the second-best powerplay (Bruins) against the second-best penalty kill (Oilers) and special teams played a major role in the outcome. As it had for the previous four games, the Bruins’ penalty kill bailed out the dormant powerplay that continues to shoot blanks and allow the opponent to stay in the game. In the last five games, the Bruins are just 1-for-18 on the powerplay but the penalty kill has killed off 18-of-20 powerplays. The brilliant PK is a major reason the Bruins have still won the last four of those five games and overcome their power failure. 

While the Bruins’ powerplay continues to allow opponents to stay in the game, the penalty kill has been able to bail them out of every game except the 3-1 loss in Detroit on February 9. That was the case again Wednesday in Edmonton as the Bruins were 0-for-7 on the man-advantage, including a four-minute powerplay late in the first period thanks to high-sticking double-minor on Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto. Yes, the PK would allow a Gagner powerplay goal 3:42 into the third period that tied the game at one but they still killed off another two Oilers powerplays, including a Pastrnak tripping call at 17:30. That enabled the game to get to the extra frame and Pastrnak returned the favor with the overtime winner. 

Tuukka Huge Again

Rask didn’t exactly steal the game as the penalty kill did, but he could’ve been charged for aiding and abetting. After the Oilers killed off that four-minute Bruins powerplay at the end of the first period, they came flying out in the second and took it to the Bruins throughout the period. With Torey Krug in the sin-bin for tripping at 6:49 of the middle frame, the Oilers were swarming and as he has been for over a month now, Rask was a stone-cold killer between the pipes, stopping all five shots on the Oilers’ powerplay. He ended up stopping all 18 shots in the second period and while he allowed the Gagner goal that tied it early in the third, he was stellar down the stretch to get the game to overtime. 

Bruins Kept Draisaitl In Check

Draisaitl (95 points) may still lead Pastrnak (84 points) by eleven points for the league lead, but unlike the Oilers with Pastrnak, the Bruins were able to not only keep Draisaitl in check, holding him to no points on four shots in a whopping 29:22 TOI, but also force him into two turnovers. Draisaitl actually finished a minus -2. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara (22:09 TOI) and defensive partner Charlie McAvoy (23:04) did more than jobs matching up against the NHL points leader who had two goals and three assists in his previous three games but the Bruins as a whole made life miserable for a player they know is being leaned on heavily with captain Connor McDavid out of the lineup. 

‘Love You Dad!’

For the third time in his young career, Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk and Edmonton native was playing an NHL game in his hometown. DeBrusk’s Dad Louie DeBrusk played for the Oilers and now serves as a Sportsnet analyst for Oilers and Hockey Night In Canada games. During warmups, the elder DeBrusk got to interview his son and while both tried to hide their emotions and crack jokes, Jake made sure to let his Dad know how he felt as he turned to skate away: “Thanks, Dad! Love you!”

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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