David Pastrnak celebrated his first goal with a glove to his ear, his second with a kneeling fist-pump.
The winger’s two goals on Saturday sent the TD Garden crowd into a frenzy and placed the Bruins on the verge of the Eastern Conference finals. Pastrnak’s performance, part of a dominant display by the top-line, drew praise from his coach and teammates.
For his first goal of the game, Pastrnak skated the puck up the ice after a fine save from Tuukka Rask. He had a two-on-one opportunity, but when the Blue Jackets defenseman laid down to take away the passing lane to Patrice Bergeron, Pastrnak simply buried it past Sergei Bobrovsky’s stick-side himself.
Columbus scored twice to equalize and the game looked headed to overtime until Brad Marchand fed the puck from the left circle to Pastrnak at the far post. The 22-year-old beat Bobrovsky with 1:28 remaining for the 4-3 victory.
— #StanleyCup on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) May 5, 2019
Pastrnak had already found the net four times in the playoffs prior to Saturday but had not quite found his usual form. Head coach Bruce Cassidy had moved him around the lineup and into the second power-play unit. The winger, and linemates Marchand and Bergeron, came to life in Game 5 for a combined six points and 15 shots on goal in 5-on-5 action.
The Bruins can clinch their spot in the Eastern Conference finals against the Carolina Hurricanes with a Game 6 win on Monday at 7 p.m.
Here’s what the Bruins head coach and players had to say about Pastrnak’s performance:
Goalie Tuukka Rask
It was awesome. He was buzzing. They’ve been playing him hard and not giving him any time and space, and it’s tough. When you’re a player who wants the puck and wants those chances, it’s not easy and when everybody is on you all the time on the ice, not giving you any room, but he’s the kind of player when he gets that room, he’s going to make them pay, and today he did.
Defenseman Torey Krug
It was great. We’ve been waiting for that for a while. He put a lot of pressure — I wouldn’t call it pressure — but he put a lot of onus to get himself out of the funk and we need him to win hockey games and that showed tonight.
If we can get that consistency factor out of him, we’re a scary team.
Head coach Bruce Cassidy
Obviously like everyone else he was putting pressure on himself. But he’s a good kid, pretty even-keeled kid if you get to know him at all. He’s always going to fight through it. Not going to disappear. He took a huge hit the other night, bounced back and scored right after that so he’s a competitive guy.
But like a lot of scorers, they need something good to happen for them to start the ball rolling. It happened the other night and it continued tonight.
On the Bruins’ top-line
When you’re offensive guys and you’re players like those guys that put a lot of pressure on themselves to lead, both production-wise, effort-wise, details, if it doesn’t go your way, there’s a level of frustration. They’re human.
Now they break through the other night, tonight now they’re back to feeling good about themselves. They’re dominant when they’re on and they’re very good even when they’re not on. If they start feeling it, it’s a tall task for the other team.
Winger Brad Marchand
It’s inevitable. You give that guy opportunities every game, they’re going to go in. He’s done it all year. He’s been a huge player for our group, and he continues to be. These are the things that we’ve come to expect with him: show up in the big moments, and he continually does.
Defenseman Charlie McAvoy
On the Bruins’ top-line
There’s no doubt in any of our minds they’re going to come through. They always do. They love the big stage, and we needed them big-time tonight and they showed up. They delivered.