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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

It's David Pastrnak's World, We're Just All Living In It

All season, the Bruins have been looking for someone to score goals and provide a spark and it looks like they found it with the youngest player in the league: 18-year-old right wing David Pastrnak, their first-round pick from last summer. In his eighth career NHL game, the rookie scored two goals for the second game in a row as Boston knocked off the top team in the Eastern Conference-Tampa Bay-4-3 at TD Garden.

Boston's (23-15-6) fourth straight win was impressive since they rallied from two different deficits, granted Tampa Bay (27-14-4) was playing the second night of a back-to-back but that's the NHL. Milan Lucic (1 goal, 1 assist), David Krejci (2 assists) and Torey Krug (2 assists) all had two points and Tuukka Rask only had to make 16 saves for the win.

Ever heard of Steven Stamkos? Haha yeah the Lightning superstar is still one of the NHL's top players. He scored the first two goals for Tampa Bay which made it 1-0 in the first period then 2-1 in the second. His first was a re-direct at 9:23 when the Bruins' defense was caught napping and he was free in front of the net for his 24th goal of the season. Brad Marchand tied it at 16:42 on a one-timer thanks to a sublime cross-ice feed from Carl Soderberg. Krug had the second assist on Marchand's team-leading 12th goal of the season (don't laugh!). A loose puck found Stamkos in the slot at 10:55 in the second period and you know the rest.

Pastrnak tied it at 15:24 with a brilliant one-on-one move (have I said that at any point this season regarding a Bruin?). Maine alum Ben Bishop (30 saves) had no chance to stop it after his defense got burned. Lucic and Kevan Miller assisted on Pastrnak's third goal of the season/his career. Lucic provided the backbreaker at 19:06 as his shot deflected in off Anton Stralman's skate. Finally, the Bruins seem to be getting more breaks than they give up. Krejci and Dennis Seidenberg assisted on Lucic's ninth goal of the season.

The Garden exploded some more as Pastrnak scored his second at 1:30 of the third period. He wheeled by Tampa Bay's cage for a beautiful wraparound goal. Krug and Krejci assisted on that work of art that took supreme confidence on top of the eye-popping skill. All that was left was to see if either Stamkos or Pastrnak would bag a hat trick.

The Lightning are the best club in the East (well they were before the Islanders blanked the Rangers tonight) for a reason: they didn't roll over as Ryan Callahan cut it to 4-3 Boston at 14:18 on that dreaded double deflection. Mark Barberio's shot was tipped by Harvard's Alex Killorn to the former Rangers star. Tampa Bay waited a little too long to pull Bishop as the Bruins were able to survive a bunch of penalties in the third period for the impressive two points.

Boston has two more games at the Garden then two on the road before the All-Star break. Thursday (7, NESN) should be another great test as the Rangers (24-12-4) come to town for their first of three meetings this season. Those are usually low-scoring but very entertaining affairs between the Original Six rivals.

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