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  • Takeaways: Bruins ‘pelt’ Senators behind David Pastrnak’s latest hat trick

    Tim Rosenthal March 20, 2024

    A 6-2 victory against one of the league’s bottom feeders might appear routine on paper. But the Boston Bruins still encountered a handful of obstacles before securing another two points.

    Following David Pastrnak’s first two tallies, the Bruins saw their 2-0 lead from the opening frame cut to one… twice.

    A Shane Pinto one-timer on Ottawa’s third power-play attempt of the second cut Boston’s lead to 2-1 at 13:08.

    Then a defensive lapse and Linus Ullmark’s failure to secure a rebound allowed Brady Tkachuk to quickly counter Justin Brazeau’s power-play tally in the closing ticks of the second 20.

    Eventually, the Bruins sewed enough doubt against the draft-lottery-bound Senators.

    After a penalty-filled middle frame, the Bruins entered shutdown mode upon Pastrnak completing his hat trick.

    The Bruins promptly tacked more insurance upon the hat cleanup and Pastrnak’s Bear Pelt selection.

    Jesper Boqvist netted his fifth of the season a mere 25 seconds after Pastrnak’s third of the night. 

    Brazeau added his second power-play marker late in regulation to finish off Boston’s 41st win of the season.

    Here’s what we learned as the league-leading Bruins extend their Atlantic Division lead to three points over the Florida Panthers.

    Pastrnak “pelts” Sens with his latest trick.

    The Bruins underwent a transitional phase when Pastrnak arrived nearly a decade ago. Over the last nine seasons, Pastrnak emerged from a dynamic goal scorer to one of the league’s elite talents.

    In this centennial season, Pastrnak plays a pivotal role in another bridge era. But as Tuesday proved, Pastrnak doesn’t rely on just one look to find the back of the net. Instead, his offensive creativity allows him to make even the simplest of tallies look crafty.

    He didn’t need to showcase too much flash on the first tally. Instead, Pastrnak remained effective with a simpler approach, beginning with deflecting Matt Grzelcyk‘s initial shot attempt past Jonas Korpisalo.

    Pastrnak followed up the tip with a slick breakaway marker to extend Boston’s lead to 2-0. After a shaky second, Pastrnak set the tone for Boston’s third after firing another backhander past Korpisalo to secure his latest hat trick.

    “It’s definitely fun, especially when your game is on. It definitely feels special because it was two backhanders and a high tip. I don’t get many of those,” Pastrnak said.

    “At times, you don’t get your ‘A’ looks. The puck bounced a couple of times and it wasn’t on my stick perfectly. So yeah, you have to try and find other ways.”

    Indeed, Pastrnak showcased variety en route to his 42nd, 43rd and 44th goals this season. But the “wardrobe” selection to commemorate his latest trick on a night of tips and backhanders made Pastrnak’s latest trick stand out from previous three-goal outings.


    A “confident” Brazeau continues his emergence.

    Amid their February swoon, the Bruins provided little offensive or defensive pushback along the front of the net, especially in closeout situations.

    As they pursued the trade market for upgrades, they looked within for potential options. In desperate need of grit and energy within their bottom six, the cap-strapped Bruins turned to a minor-league journeyman in Justin Brazeau to fulfill a need.

    Since debuting on Feb. 19, Brazeau continues to thrive in a fourth-line and secondary power play role. His emergence continued on Tuesday after netting his first career NHL multi-goal game with his pair of man-advantage markers.

    “I think I’m just getting confidence every game I play,” Brazeau said. “I think the league almost slows down a bit when you get that confidence, and you can make plays with pucks.”

    Brazeau patiently waited for his opportunity. Over his first five professional hockey seasons, he went through the ECHL ranks in the Toronto and Boston organizations before becoming a regular with AHL Providence.

    Brazeau’s reliability led him to more ice time with the P-Bruins over his last two seasons. Despite his lack of notoriety, Brazeau caught Jim Montgomery’s attention enough to draw a unique comparison. 

    “In training camp I remember saying he’s a poor man’s Dave Andreychuk,” Montgomery said. “He seems to get to every puck below the goal line. He makes subtle, little smart plays. And you saw his ability. He has a nice touch. I’m glad he got rewarded because he’s playing better than what his stats have shown. But we’re really happy with how he’s playing in all three zones and how well he supports his teammates.”

    Indeed, Brazeau won’t come close to matching Andreychuk’s hall-of-fame production. But any loyal Bruins supporter can get behind a journey of perseverance and dedication toward fulfilling a lifelong dream.

    The Bruins should consider giving Ullmark another look against the Rangers.


    Without the bailouts from Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman, the Bruins would likely sit near the playoff fringe. Yet, the dynamic surrounding Boston’s dynamic duo in net will become even more of a hotly debated topic by late April.

    Swayman may have had the upper hand a couple of weeks ago following his standout outings against the Maple Leafs, a potential first-round opponent. But after riding a wave of emotions during the trade deadline, Ullmark settled back into his role accordingly.

    Ullmark’s future in Boston remains up for debate. They’ll likely address that conundrum during the offseason. Until then, he’ll play another significant role in the B’s postseason outlook.

    In the meantime, Ullmark’s performance gives him a leg up in the recent goaltending pendulum.

    The Swede notched 21 of his 30 saves as the Bruins struggled with penalty trouble in the second period. But he got some relief in the third behind the trio of insurance tallies and an assertive D to secure his 19th win of the season.

    “I’m just playing my game,” Ullmark said. “We played really well defensively-wise, I felt at least. There might be some things here and there that we wasn’t as crisp with, but at the end of the day, we got the win. I thought when that third period came, we really shut it down, and went to town and did what we needed to do offensively-wise. But we didn’t let up anything significant as well, so we’re showing we’re on the right path.”

    Given his recent momentum and a rare clean final 20 from the D in front of him, the Bruins may want to deviate from their recent every-other-game rotation and turn back to Ullmark Thursday night against the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Rangers. At the very least, it would give them a better idea of how Ullmark handles a back-to-back workload ahead of the playoff grind.

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    Tim Rosenthal

    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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