David Pastrnak won’t tell you that something is wrong with him. It’s an accepted part of postseason hockey. Any injury or ailment he’s dealing with won’t see the light of day until the Bruins clean out their lockers for the off-season.
Bruins fans hope that doesn’t happen for another month. But they have every reason to express concern about the crafty Czech playmaker.
They didn’t have any reassurance after arguably his worst performance of the postseason in the Game 3 loss. In fact, Pastrnak quickly went into cliche mode when a reporter in Columbus asked him about his struggles during the second season.
“I don’t really want to talk about myself. It’s a team sport, and I’m not focusing on if I score a goal or not,” Pastrnak told reporters following the 2-1 loss at Nationwide Arena. “I’m trying to help the team, and you know, I’m doing my best.”
His best, if you want to call it that, wasn’t good enough against Sergei Bobrovsky and company. Bruce Cassidy, in desperation for scoring, moved Pastrnak back to the top line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron in Game 4 reuniting one of the most potent trios in the league.
The grinding Blue Jackets set the physical tone against the top line again. Pastrnak clearly felt the wrath of the likes of Seth Jones, Zach Werenski, David Savard, and a stout Columbus D. The same mistakes and puck mismanagement — especially on the power play — since the start of the series carried over into a pivotal Game 4.
Absolutely sick pump fake by David Pastrnak pic.twitter.com/TItmShwcOG
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 3, 2019
Yet, Pastrnak forced Cassidy’s hand again, eventually removing him from the top power-play unit on a night where they allowed six shorthanded shots on goal. Fortunately, Tuukka Rask held strong in another quality performance between the pipes.
Amidst all the struggles and the discussions with Cassidy on the bench, Pastrnak didn’t waver. With every whiff on a pass or a shot or in the instance where he received the brunt end of a collision, Pastrnak rebounded and kept his head up. His goal Thursday night, just 25 seconds after taking a hit from Adam Clendening to advance the puck, showcased a competitive spirit during a seesaw night.
— Marina Molnar (@mkmolnar) May 2, 2019
“Pasta’s a tough kid. He’s going to have to play through it,” Cassidy said Friday at Warrior Ice Arena. “A lot of guys would’ve gone to the bench there [following a hit] to collect themselves. He stayed with it. And you’ve got to give him credit. Guys have been hit hard this series on both sides, and he’s played through it.”
Taking the Clendening hit catapulted Pastrnak to a two-point night. But the Bruins could use more consistency from their young star. Although the Bruins did well without Pastrnak late in the regular season, the playoffs are a different beast. They need him in the lineup even if he’s not 100 percent, because even the smallest of accomplishments can provide a building block this time of year.
Published at Sat, 04 May 2019 18:54:24 +0000