Boston Bruins sophomore winger David Pastrnak is still trying to find consistency in his game, but that hasn’t stopped the 19-year-old from showing moments of brilliance.
Thursday night against the Hurricanes, Pastrnak displayed his skill level on a goal that left Carolina goaltender Cam Ward’s water bottle in smithereens. And Pastrnak’s goal couldn’t have come at a better time with the Bruins needing a tying goal — and at least a point in the contest — to move into first in the Atlantic Division.
With nearly six minutes gone in the third, Pastrnak stretched out to pick up a nearly full-ice pass from David Krejci and managed to corral the puck just before it ended up below the circles in the Carolina zone. Pastrnak spotted teammate Loui Eriksson breaking towards the goal and stared towards him to give the appearance a pass was coming. Thinking a pass was imminent, Ward crept off of his right post ever so slightly, which gave Pastrnak enough room to rip a wrist shot past Ward and destroy his water bottle:
The long view showing Ward’s bottle as Pastrnak hits it is awesome and show just how much force Pastrnak put into his shot. With the marker, Pastrnak now has 10 goals in 38 games this season, matching his goal output from his rookie season in eight fewer games.
It was thought coming into the season that Pastrnak could become a top-six winger for Boston, but he has struggled this season through injuries and inconsistency. The Bruins once again released him to the World Junior Championship back in December and, much like last season, almost all of his production has come after representing the Czech Republic at the tournament.
If Pastrnak can keep producing, there’s no reason to believe he can’t be an important piece for the Bruins come playoff time, and his goal inched Boston closer to entering the post-season with the top seed. Following Thursday’s game, the Bruins have a one-point lead atop the Atlantic, but both the Lightning and Panthers are one point back with two games in hand. The race for the division crown looks like it’ll be a photo finish.