Boston, MA – A pair of David Pastrnak goals propels the Boston Bruins past the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 in front of 17,850 at TD Garden on Thursday. The Bruins entered the third-period leading 3-2. Over the last week, they have squandered multiple leads in the waning moments of the third. They bucked that trend when Pastrnak fought off Chicago defensemen Jake McCabe and then Connor Murphy to get into position and slap home the winner with just eight-teen seconds left in regulation.
“Obviously, they are a high-end, skilled team and so it was a big bounce back for us,” said the 25-year-old Pastrnak on scoring after the Blackhawks tied the game just 3:24 into the third. ” Big win overall for us.”
“It was a little bit different game, especially for guys who play on the power-play but not the penalty killing,” Pastrnak said about his line’s night. “It felt like it was “either/or” the whole game. It was kind of thought to find the flow.”
“We’ve been around it today,” added Pastrnak of their scoring chances in the second half of the game. “That’s how it goes. Sometimes you just have to stick with it.”
Charlie Coyle notched his 13th goal when he blasted in a rebound of a Connor Clifton shot. Clifton carried into the Blackhawks zone before firing a slapshot that Kevin Lankinen (32 saves)padded away. Unfortunately for Lankinen, the rebound went straight to Coyle for the one-timer.
As has been their wont this season, the Bruins quickly surrendered the lead minutes later when Alex Debrincat buried a Patrick Kane pass past Jeremy Swayman (22 saves) to make it 1-1 at 6:41. Kane was the lone assist on DeBrincat’s 34th.
Brandon Hagel gave the visitors the 2-1 lead at 4:12 of the second period when he deked around Jack Ahcan and then beat Swayman on a wrap-around for his 19th. Jonathan Toews and Kirby Dach assisted.
Three straight Blackhawks penalties gave the Bruins momentum in the mid-to-late part of the period.
First, McCabe drew a High-Sticking penalty at 10:02. Rookie defenseman Jack Ahcan capitalized for his first NHL goal at 11:57. The 5′-9″ defenseman from Savage, Minnesota, was all over the Chicago zone on the play leading up to the goal.
First, he kept the play alive as he zipped down the boards to trap the puck between his skate and the boards, then after Ahcan dished to Brad Marchand, he stole the puck back from Chicago defenseman Riley Stillman before beating Lankinen for the milestone goal.
“I was down as the power-play was kind of in its dying seconds,” said Ahcan of the play. “I was down in the corner trying to keep the puck alive, put to back to Marchy (Brad Marchand) I think. It just bounced. I put one hand over the defenseman’s stick and got it in the slot.”
“I ripped it, and it ended up hitting the post and going in,” added Ahcan. “It’s nice, a nice first one to get.”
A Connor Murphy Interference call at 14:31 led to a Pastrnak one-timer from the left circle at 15:23 for his first goal of the game. McAvoy and Patrice Bergeron assisted Pastrnak’s 32nd goal, which gave the Bruins the 3-2 lead they would take into the second intermission.
Hagel picked up his second goal of the night at 3:24 when he banged in a loose puck in front of the Bruins net. Patrick Kane led the charge on a three-on-two into the Boston zone. Kane dished to Dylan Strome on his right, Strome then fired off a cross-crease pass to DeBrincat, but Swayman made the stop. The rookie goaltender misplaced the rebound, and it fell to Hagel for his 20th goal of the year.
The Bruins capitalized on a Chicago icing at 19:36. The Blackhawks won the face-off, but Taylor Hall beat the Chicago defensemen to the puck in the corner. Hall fell but managed to get up and put the puck out front of the net, where Pastrnak worked his magic to seal the deal for Boston.
“We had an attack mentality,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy of the final five minutes of play. “I think Taylor Hall’s line picked it up in the third. He got skating more and attacked through the middle of the ice.”
“We were playing to win the hockey game, which I like,” added Cassidy. “I thought we did a good job with that in trying to go on the attack and get the next goal. We didn’t sell the farm to do it.”
“For us to score one late, that’s a nice turn of events,” Cassidy said in regards to the recent run of games.
The Bruins will host the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday at TD Garden. The puck drop is at 7:00 pm EST.