Bruins right wing David Pastrnak celebrates with fans after scoring one of his two goals Saturday night in Boston. AP Photo/Charles Krupa

BOSTON — The phone lines on the talk shows already must have been burning up.

“Nail Pastrnak’s butt to the bench, will ya?!?!”

Well, it did in fact look like David Pastrnak was headed for semi-permanent residence in the doghouse, at least in the minds of the masses around the midway point of the Bruins’ heart-stopping 4-3 victory Saturday night over the Columbus Blue Jackets at TD Garden.

Pastrnak had started to find his scoring touch with a one-time goal Thursday in Game 4 in Columbus, but his penchant for giveaways and turnovers this playoff season understandably has driven Bruins’ fans batty. Then in the third period Saturday, the dynamic Pastrnak we’ve come to know arrived to score the first of his two goals that just may have saved the Bruins’ Stanley Cup hopes.

With the Bruins leading 2-1, Brad Marchand sprung Pastrnak for a 2-on-1 with Patrice Bergeron. Operating on his off wing on the left side, Pastrnak acted nothing like a player who was struggling, but rather he struck decisively. Instead of moving the puck to Bergeron to get goalie Sergei Bobrovsky moving laterally – something he’s done extremely well – Pastrnak ripped his all-world shot and beat Bobrovsky short side to give the Bruins a two-goal lead again, kicking off his heroics.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy has done lots of things with Pastrnak in these playoffs to get him going. He’s moved him to David Krejci’s line. He’s bounced him to the third line with Charlie Coyle. He even took Pastrnak off the first power play unit in Game 4 when they were protecting a lead. But Cassidy never has lost faith in him.

“I think in Game 4, that goal was big for him,” Cassidy said. “Clearly, he’s shooting the puck well. He had a few burps with it along the way. We had talked about our power play maybe not getting into certain spots or staying static. But obviously the goal off the rush helps him. I’m glad he didn’t overthink it and shot it. And he went to the net on the other one. I think it helped and I believe it started the other night.”

But more was needed from Pastrnak and the top line. The resilient Jackets (do not count them out of the series yet) halved the lead again with a Ryan Dzingel roof shot. And with 6:02 left in the regulation, Dean Kukan blasted a wide-open shot from just above the hash marks to even it up at 3-3.

It looked like the game might be headed to overtime when Pastrnak struck again on a great five-man effort to break up Artemi Panarin and Brandon Carlo sent Marchand off on a rush. Pastrnak, who had pushed the puck away from Panarin to start it all, drove to the net. He quickly one-timed Marchand’s pass to beat Bobrovsky’s side-to-side movement and score the game-winner with 1:28 to play.

“It’s inevitable,” Marchand said. “You give that guy opportunities every game and they’re going to go in. He’s done it all year and he’s been a huge player for our group and he continues to be. These are the things we’ve come to expect from him.”

After the game, Pastrnak deflected any questions about relieving pressure on himself.

“Obviously, it’s nice to score goals but at the same time I always try to help in other ways,” Pastrnak said. “Obviously we had a good game as a line and that’s how we pick each other up when it’s most needed.”

Torey Krug, however, acknowledged the wall through which Pastrnak was trying to break.

“He’s trying to grow up as a professional and he’s really taking the right approach to this … I don’t want to call it a slump but it’s probably the only word that comes to mind right now,” Krug said. “But he’s taking the right approach to his game and to correct things. And he’s doing it for all the right reasons. He’s doing it to help this team win hockey games.

“You saw in Columbus the last game, he was blocking shots and I think that’s a step in the right direction. All of a sudden, you feel you’re more involved, you’re helping the team win and, tonight, he’s getting on the score sheet. That’s what we need out of him and his line to move forward. He’s a great kid and he’s going to grow into one of the leaders on this team for a long time.”

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.