The California Cruisin’ Bruins made one last visit to their Golden State tour on Sunday night.
Their final pit stop in Anaheim included another hearty serving of pasta.
David Pastrnak returned to second-line duty, skating to the right of fellow Czech countrymen David Krejci and Pavel Zacha. The trio each notched multi-point outings against the lowly Ducks.
Pastrnak, in particular, shined bright in front of a well-traveled Bruins faithful. By the midway point of the second period, the visiting Boston crowd littered the Honda Center ice with various caps to show their appreciation for Pastrnak and his latest hat trick.
Pastrnak and Krejci got the Bruins off and running in the first, connecting on their respective one-timers for an early two-goal cushion.
The young Ducks provided a little pushback late in the opening frame after Trevor Zegras fired a one-timer past Jeremy Swayman. The two teams exchanged pleasantries shortly after, with Zegaras, Trent Frederic, Brad Marchand and Max Comtois highlighting a heated war of words after Anaheim cut Boston’s lead to 2-1.
Marchand, who now has goals in three straight games following his third-period marker, finally received the benefit of the doubt from the officiating crew in the middle frame, drawing a trip on Ryan Strome at 11:24. Pastrnak quickly notching a power play marker and a breakaway tally just 18 seconds apart for his 13th career hat trick.
A returning Hampus Lindholm and a Charlie Coyle tuck late in the final frame capped off Boston’s 7-1 triumph. Here’s what we learned as the Bruins concluded their California swing with a dominant win in Orange County.
Pastrnak’s provided another moment of ‘artistry.’
At 26, Pastrnak may not even have hit his prime yet.
The Czech playmaker is a viable threat to perform something magical with every puck touch. Most of all, Pastrnak continues to find various means of lighting the lamp.
Pastrnak came up one goal shy of notching another three-goal outing less than 24 hours prior in San Jose. His creative scoring habits continued Sunday, notching his 30th goal of the season on a quick one-timer, his 31st on a slick power play wrist shot, and his 32nd via a slick breakaway tally.
“I call [Pastrnak] an artist because he’s so creative,” Montgomery told NESN’s Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley. “He finds different ways to take you out of your seat when you’re watching him.”
Some players consider themselves as streaky scorers. Pastrnak, at times, fit that description as a promising young offensive dynamo upon arriving in Boston following his first-round selection in 2014.
In a contract year, Pastrnak picked an ideal time to embark on a career season. He’s on pace to score an eye-opening 60 goals and sits one goal behind the otherworldly Connor McDavid on the league’s leaderboard.
Lindholm returned to his old stomping grounds.
Sunday marked Lindholm’s first appearance in Anaheim since last year’s trade deadline.
Lindholm developed that typical awkward feeling of returning to their former surroundings. Heck, he encountered difficulties locating the visiting dressing room at Honda Center before facing his ex-teammates.
“It was weird… I was walking in there, and I got lost walking around the locker room,” Lindholm said to reporters. “I didn’t know where to go.”
Once settled, Lindholm found time to reflect on his nine seasons in Anaheim. After the montage highlighting his career with the Ducks, the Swede returned to the business in hand.
Lindholm fired six shots on net in 23:13 of ice time during Sunday’s return. He inserted himself into Boston’s seven-goal parade, notching his fourth of the season on a bad-angle shot during the final frame.
“It was a different feeling,” Lindholm added. “But we’re happy with the two points and the process. We’ve been playing good on this road trip, so it’s nice to go back home after a big win.”
Lindholm’s smooth transition since the trade deadline provided Boston’s blue line with a needed shot in the arm.
Sunday provided Lindholm with another quality moment of his brief Boston tenure. But he wasn’t the only Bruin to embrace that friendly feeling on Kaleta Avenue.
Well-traveled Bruins faithful fills ‘Garden West’
Throughout the last decade, Bruins fans across North America — and in some instances, the globe — have donned their black and gold gear wherever they travel. The passionate fanbase continues to cheer their hockey club through thick and thin, whether they’re traveling to a hostile environment like Montreal or Toronto or attending a game at the friendlier Causeway Street confines.
On Sunday, the loyal Bruins faithful turned Honda Center into ‘Garden West.’
Tickets for Bruins games remain in high demand in all 32 NHL venues. Between that and Anaheim’s rebuild, Sunday’s California finale marked an ideal time for a takeover of an opposing arena some 3,000 miles away from TD Garden.
Indeed, the partisan Boston crowd caught the attention of every Bruin on the bench. They took notice with every moment, from throwing their hats onto the ice following Pastrnak’s third goal to drowning the few boos directed at Marchand following his third-period tally and a smattering of “Yankees suck” chants in the closing moments.
“It was outstanding,” Pastrnak told reporters. “It was pretty loud cheering there by Bruins fans. So, respect to them for coming out and supporting us. They were pretty loud.”
From another triumphant Winter Classic win at Fenway Park to Sunday’s California swing finale, the Bruins filled a seasons-worth of memories over the last week. They’ll return home with a well-deserved two-day break before prepping for their first Garden tilt of 2023 against the much-improved Seattle Kraken.
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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