The 2017-18 Stanley Cup Playoffs have been a familiar story for Boston Bruins forward Rick Nash. It is one we recite pretty much every year around this time. He is doing a lot of things well but for whatever reason is just completely unable to, you know, score goals. That finally changed for him on Saturday afternoon in the Bruin’s 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of their second-round series when Nash scored a pair of goals, including the goal that would go on to be the eventual game-winner.
After he scored just one goal in the first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Bruins had to be happy to see Nash come through with two big goals on Saturday.
His other goal opened the scoring for the Bruins when he smoothly deflected a David Pastrnak shot behind Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilveskiy.
While getting actual production from Nash was probably something of a surprise at this point for the Bruins, the rest of the Bruins’ offense came from the usual suspects and the top-line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak.
That trio has been arguably the best line in hockey all season and all three of them were great on Saturday.
Their final lines on the day:
- Patrice Bergeron: two goals, one assist, five shots on goal and a plus-four rating
- David Pastrnak: four assists, two shots on goal and a plus-four rating
- Brad Marchand: one goal, three assists, a plus-four rating
Marchand thought he had a second goal when he beat Vasilevskiy with a one-timer only to have the goal immediately disallowed because of a cross-checking penalty that was being called on Pastrnak.
It is just an absolutely dominant line that nobody has been able to stop. Through the first eight games of the playoffs Bergeron now has three goals and eight assists, Marchand has four goals and nine assists, while Pastrnak has five goals and 12(!) assists. That 17 points puts him into the league lead for the time being.
Jake DeBrusk wrapped up the scoring for the Bruins on Saturday when he scored his sixth goal of the playoffs, scoring on an empty-net with just under seven minutes to play in regulation. With the Lightning already trailing 5-2, coach Jon Cooper opted to go for the early goalie pull with his team on the power play as a desperation move to try and get back into the game. It did not work.
While the Bruins were lighting up the scoreboard again, Tuukka Rask played a really strong game in net and stopped 34 of the 36 shots he faced. The only two goals he allowed came on a long distance shot from Dan Girardi through a screen that Rask probably never saw, and a bizarre play where he lost a skate blade and was unable to move in his crease. The latter play resulted in him angrily throwing his skate blade across the ice in protest of not getting a whistle. Not getting a whistle, of course, was the correct call according to NHL rules. The goalie losing his mask is the only equipment issue that can lead to play being stopped.
Game 2 of the series is in Tampa Bay on Monday night.