The Boston Bruins have a little thing for the dramatics these days.
But they didn’t have any trouble starting things on the right foot against the Philadelphia Flyers following David Pastrnak’s slick deke on Shayne Gostisbehere en route to his first goal of the night a mere 12 seconds in.
We’ll get back to Pastrnak in a minute. But first, let’s get to how the Bruins found themselves in another hole Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Center.
It wasn’t that the Bruins lacked scoring chances. Carter Hart had an active night between the Philly pipes with a 31-save outing. Eventually, the Flyers found their skating legs and capitalized on Boston’s miscues.
Kevin Hayes tied things up at 1-1 in the second period as the Bruins were caught on their heels after Charlie McAvoy broke his stick. A turnover by Jakub Zboril and a missed assignment early in the third led to Jakub Voracek banking home a rebound past Tuukka Rask (22 saves) to give the Flyers a 2-1 lead. Joel Farabee capped off a 2-on-1 rush with a one-timer to extend the cushion to two.
Coming off a pair of thrilling 3-0 comebacks — resulting in three points in their two games with the Capitals — the Bruins appeared due for a regulation loss facing a two-goal deficit. Yet, with just a three percent chance of winning, Bruce Cassidy’s squad once again persevered.
Pastrnak pulled the Bruins within one on a stellar feed from Bergeron during Boston’s second power play attempt with 7:55 left in regulation.
Several minutes elapsed before the Bruins found themselves with another chance with the man advantage — shortly after killing Jeremy Lauzon’s holding minor — this time in a 6-on-4 situation. And once again, Pastrnak delivered, batting a rebound in mid-air for his ninth career hat trick to tie things up with over 15 ticks remaining.
It didn’t take long for the Bruins to score quickly in overtime. A mere 31 seconds elapsed before Pastrnak capped off his four-point night with an assist on Patrice Bergeron’s game-winner during a 4-on-3 power play.
“It’s a good feeling knowing you can come back in different ways,” Cassidy said following Boston’s 4-3 win. “We weren’t selling the farm. We worked hard trying to get the next goal and played the right way and drew some penalties. So it worked out for us.”
Here’s what we learned from another exhilarating come-from-behind victory for the Bruins.
Pastrnak is “on a mission”
He’s only played in three games this season. Yet, Pastrnak quickly climbed up the league’s goal-scoring ranks, sitting tied for 18th with five lamplighters.
Quite frankly, Pastrnak’s return from injury came sooner than expected following off-season hip surgery. He hasn’t missed a beat after reuniting with Bergeron and Brad Marchand on the top line.
His numbers since returning to Boston’s lineup on Jan. 30: seven points, 19 shots on goal and 37 shot attempts in 61:28 of ice time.
“It’s funny. I told him my experience with guys when they miss that much time or it’s a whole off-season is you lose your timing a bit. Your hands and your timing is a little bit out of sync. Hah, he showed me.” Cassidy said with a chuckle regarding Pastrnak’s return.
“Obviously, he’s on a mission. Good for him. We need it. He’s a guy that’s predominately a scorer, and you need those guys to win hockey games for you. He’s done it the last few nights. Clearly, he looks energized and ready to play, and we’re thankful for it and grateful.”
The Bruins used a plethora of players in previous comebacks. On Wednesday, they turned to the multi-talented Pastrank on this night.
Who can blame them? He’s a threat to score every time he touches the puck, especially with the game on the line.
“Every night it can be a different guy, and tonight it was me,” Pastrnak said. “Obviously it’s fun, coming back from injury and to get these games under the belt and to get a couple of goals on the board…overall, as a team, I think we played well, and I think we deserve the two points today.”
Resiliency is in Boston’s DNA
Even when they’ve faced multi-goal deficits, the Bruins rarely put themselves in a position to cave. More often than not, Cassidy’s bunch put forth quality scoring chances against the Caps and Flyers, but found themselves playing catchup hockey.
Take a look at the Caps and Flyers’ win probabilities entering the third period as compiled by Bruins Stats on Twitter. On average, the Bruins had a roughly 3.7 percent chance to snag a victory.
Cassidy’s squad never wavered. The Bruins kept grinding away with their scoring chances as one-goal lead to another. As a result, they came away with five improbable points.
“I think our guys knew — like the other night — that we were fine. It wasn’t like we were getting dominated, and I think that’s the difference.” Cassidy said. “Sometimes, if you’re not able to come back, you sit on the bench and go ‘boy, they’re not giving us much,’ and I think on both these nights, we knew we had opportunities. We just had to stick with it and bear down and get our break, and we did.”
Eventually, these come-from-behind efforts may catch up to the Bruins. They’d surely take a night where they lead from start to finish when it happens.
At the very least, the last few nights proved that no one should write off this Black and Gold squad at any point of a 60-minute contest.
Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.
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