Nine years after Dave Bolland clinched the Stanley Cup for the Blackhawks in Boston, Pastrnak flipped the script for the B’s with his own strike with 16 ticks showing on the clock.
“It was a big bounce back for us,” Pastrnak said. “I think they’re a really high-end, skilled team, so big win all around for us.”
Jeremy Swayman notched 22 saves en route to his 16th win of the season.
Charlie Coyle’s 13th goal of the season put the Bruins ahead 1-0, 4:08 into the game, following a Connor Clifton shot from the slot that bounced right to Coyle’s stick on the far faceoff dot.
The Blackhawks didn’t waste long with the tying goal as Alex DeBrincat one-timed a shot past Swayman on a Chicago 4-on-1 rush into the zone less than two minutes later.
Brandon Hagel gave the Blackhawks their first lead of the night on a wraparound goal at 4:12 of the second. But Chicago’s lead was short-lived as the Bruins received some life through three straight power-play opportunities.
Jack Ahcan notched his first career goal to tie things up at 2-2 at 11:57. Pastrnak put his team ahead 3:26 later after firing his patented one-timer from his usual spot as the Bruins finished the period 2-for-3 on the man advantage.
Hagel added his second of the night in the early goings of the final period, following a soft rebound from Swayman to even the score once again. The final frame remained deadlocked until Pastrnak’s game-winner with seconds showing on the clock.
Here’s what we learned following the Bruins’ last-second stunner against the Blackhawks:
Ahcan pots first career goal
Against his childhood idol’s team, the Bruins’ rookie picked up his first NHL goal.
Growing up a fan of Patrick Kane, Ahcan scored his first of his career in pretty fashion after stealing the puck below the faceoff dots and ripping the puck short side on the B’s man advantage during the second.
With Matt Grzelcyk out of the lineup for the second straight game, Ahcan found himself next to Brandon Carlo on the B’s second defensive pairing. The rookie blue-liner made his presence known with an important second-period marker.
“It’s just such a great feeling. You picture it over and over again in your head, and I don’t think once it was like that, but it was a pretty awesome goal and nice to get it out of the way,” Ahcan said of his first career tally.
“I was down in the corner during the dying seconds of the power play, trying to keep the puck alive; I put it back to [Marchand], I think. And it just bounced and I put one hand over the defenseman’s stick, and I got it in the slot and it ended up hitting the post and going in. Nice first one to get.”
Ahcan also experienced first-hand the difficulties Kane presents as he set up DeBrincat’s goal in the opening frame.
“I knew he was going to pass,” Ahcan said. “I tried to bait him into passing a little bit earlier. He’s such a great player, [I] probably should’ve just kept my stick in the lane.”
Pastrnak reverses the Bruins’ recent late-game trend
The Bruins have been on the wrong side of last-minute goals in recent games, but Pastrnak ended the troubling trend with Thursday’s game-winner.
“We had an attack mentality,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said on his team’s late-game performance. “I thought Taylor Hall’s line really picked it up in the third. He got skating more, attacked through the middle of the ice. We were playing to win the hockey game, which I like.”
The Bruins received an offensive zone faceoff following a Blackhawks icing with 22 seconds left. After a faceoff win by Patrice Bergeron, Hall threw the puck into the middle of the ice and Pastrnak chipped it into the top corner for the clincher.
Following late goals in Anaheim (loss), Columbus (shootout win) and against the Kings (overtime loss), Pastrnak’s 33rd goal of the season gave the Bruins a taste of the other side of last-second strikes.
Bruins close gap on Maple Leafs
Thursday’s victory brought the Bruins within four points of the Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division standings.
Boston’s last-second win over the Blackhawks upped their point total to 75. Toronto notched its point 79th point of the season following an OT loss to the Arizona Coyotes.
The Bruins have held a wild card spot since early January.
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