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Talking Points: Returning Player Factor Huge For Boston Bruins

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Boston Bruins

BOSTON – Here are the Talking Points from the Boston Bruins 3-1 win over the New York Rangers on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden with returning injured players David Pastrnak, Hampus Lindholm and Linus Ullmark factoring hugely in the win.

GOLD STAR: David Pastrnak, difference maker. The Boston Bruins right wing showed up and showed out in his first game in almost three weeks as he scored the game’s first goal and then made a play blocking a pass that set up the B’s second goal to stake them to a 2-0 lead. It’s no coincidence that the Boston Bruins averaged two goals per game in his absence, and then cranked it up back to three goals in a winning performance as soon as he came back. Players that can produce a goal per game are worth their weight in gold and Pastrnak is one of those guys. He finished with a plus-2 and five shot attempts in 20:19 of ice time for the Bruins and really didn’t show any signs of rust after missing the last eight games with an undisclosed injury.

BLACK EYE: Dryden Hunt, what a piece of work. He finished a team-worst minus-2, had a pair of giveaways and got the worst of it in this exchange where he was part of two New York Rangers players that jumped Charlie McAvoy after a punishing, clean hit on Adam Fox. Somehow this exchange turned into matching penalties for Hunt and McAvoy, which is about the only win that Dryden Hunt had during an entire Saturday afternoon skating against the Bruins.

TURNING POINT: The turning point was a great play by Hampus Lindholm that led directly to the first goal. Lindholm was able to shut down a rush down the left wing by Artemi Panarin, and then quickly threw an outlet pass to Brad Marchand, who fed Charlie McAvoy in transition before McAvoy shuffled the puck to a wide open Pastrnak for the one-timer shot. It was a shining example of exactly the kind of elite, high-level play that the Boston Bruins had been missing the past few weeks with Lindholm and Pastrnak out of the lineup. And it showed exactly what they can add in a quick two-way play that turned into a goal, and a win that looked a lot like what the red-hot Boston Bruins were doing in the month of March rather than the struggle over the last few weeks.

HONORABLE MENTION: While so many were marveling at Lindholm and Pastrnak making a big difference, it was just as much about goalie Linus Ullmark in the incredibly strong win for the Black and Gold. After missing a week after catching a shot to the mask, Ullmark looked sharp and on top of his game while flashing a quick glove hand and stopping 30-of-31 shots against a Rangers team that was able to get Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin some pretty good looks throughout the game. Ullmark’s performance makes it truly interesting what the Boston Bruins intend to do with the starting goaltender spot for the first game of the Stanley Cup playoffs given that Ullmark has been the better goalie as of late between the two young netminders with no postseason experience.

BY THE NUMBERS: 500 – the number of career points for David Pastrnak after a two-point performance in his return to the ice, making him the third fastest to reach that in his Boston Bruins career behind Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Guy!” – a surprisingly large number of Boston Bruins fans that bellowed out Guy Lafleur’s name out of respect to break the stillness at the end of a moment of silence for the recently passed Montreal Canadiens legend prior to Saturday’s game at TD Garden.

Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston, WEEI.com, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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Chuck Rose

That game just goes to show that it wasn’t the number of Bruins that were injured, but the key Bruins that were injured. Ullmark in my mind should be the starter in the playoffs. He has been so much more consistent than Swayman. When Sway is on, he might be the better goalie. But he’s just not consistent. It’s not really his fault, he is a rookie after all. Ullmark was brilliant against the Rangers. Time and time again coming up with great saves. Furthermore, the Bruins win more when Linus is in the net. Pasta, obviously was missed. He… Read more »

Last edited 23 days ago by Chuck Rose

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