Bruins forward David Pastrnak scored goals 13-15 of the season, the last two during power plays, as the Bruins improved to 9-5-2 through 16 games.
BOSTON – David Pastrnak scored his third career hat trick and second this season on Saturday night, leading the Bruins’ 5-1 victory over the Maple Leafs at TD Garden in the first game between the Atlantic Division rivals since the B’s won a seven-game first-round playoff series last year.
Pastrnak scored goals 13-15 of the season, the last two during power plays, as the Bruins improved to 9-5-2 through 16 games. He capped the hat trick with a power-play goal that made the score 4-1 with 5:56 remaining. Joakim Nordstrom scored 30 seconds later.
The B’s close a four-game homestand on Sunday night against the Golden Knights.
The Bruins, coming off Thursday night’s disappointing 8-5 loss to the Canucks, had a couple of things going for them on Saturday. The Leafs had played on Friday night in Toronto (6-1 win over the Devils), and were without young scoring star Auston Matthews (10 goals, 16 points in 11 games), who missed his sixth game with a shoulder injury. Backup goalie Garret Sparks spelled No. 1 Frederik Anderson for just the third time this season.
The Leafs hardly looked tired, or seemed to miss Matthews, for most of the first period. They peppered Jaroslav Halak with 20 shots – nine during a power play that lasted until the eight-minute mark and left them with a 13-2 gap in shots. Defenseman Steven Kampfer, who took the interference penalty, was pinned to the bench for the rest of the period by B’s coach Bruce Cassidy.
Somehow, though, the Bruins had a 1-0 lead by intermission. They went ahead on Patrice Bergeron’s ninth goal of the season, scored with 3:48 remaining, courtesy of two great plays by Pastrnak. After a faceoff went into the right corner, Pastrnak pushed Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly off the puck, then carried it behind the net and out to the left circle before whipping it to the crease, where Bergeron had established position on Rielly and tipped the puck past Sparks.
Bergeron returned the favor in the second period. On a setup almost identical to one of their power play formations, Bergeron snapped a pass from the right circle to the left dot, where Pastrnak was waiting to wing a shot past Sparks at 5:46.
Pastrnak’s second of the night did, in fact, come during a power play, stretching the Bruins’ lead to 3-0 at 10:34. Bergeron started the play with a circle-to-circle feed to Brad Marchand on the right side; Marchand gunned it to the opposite post, where Pastrnak had a tap-in.
A late penalty got the Bruins in a little trouble. Brandon Carlo’s jab to the face of Kasperi Kapanen at the end of a skirmish resulted in a roughing call at 17:28, and the Leafs used the power play to regain some momentum. Carlo exited the box just in time to see John Tavares cut the Bruins’ lead to 3-1 with 30 seconds left in the period.
The game marked the first of this season and second in the career of prospect Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, who was recalled on Friday from AHL Providence. Forsbacka Karlsson became the latest candidate to center the third line, skating between Danton Heinen and Anders Bjork. Veteran David Backes was pushed from No. 3 center to right wing on the fourth line, leaving Noel Acciari out of the lineup.
Mike Loftus writes for the Patriot Ledger of GateHouse Media.