Pastrnak’s five-point night helps Bruins tighten hold on second place

Give David Pastrnak the games back that he missed due to injury and it’s more than likely he’d be challenging the Alex Ovechkin and a couple others for the Rocket Richard.

Hell, he might be flirting with a 100-point season, too.

Alas, he’ll have to settle for a new career-high in goals after a magical night.

Gifted does not do Pastrnak justice and doesn’t begin to describe his goal-scoring abilities, and he put another show against the New York Rangers on Wednesday Night Hockey, sniping his third hat trick of the season in a five-point effort that as the Boston Bruins doubled up the Rangers 6-3 on NBCSN.

Pastrnak scored a goal in each period, included two power-play markers and another on the second line after a little line juggling saw Pastrnak move down to play with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk while Bruce Cassidy experimented with new linemates for Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, the latter who contributed three assists in the game.

Pastrnak’s goals were his 34, 35 and 36 of the season, surpassing the 35 total he scored last year.

For good measure, ‘Pasta’ added a pair of assists to give him 77 points in 61 games this season. His third hat trick of the current campaign was the first time a Bruins player had achieved the feat since Cam Neely did so 25 years ago during the 1993-94 season.

The win, coupled with the Toronto Maple Leafs only managing to get a point against the Philadelphia Flyers in a 5-4 shootout loss, means the Bruins move six points clear of their Atlantic Division rivals, and will likely have home-ice advantage when the two teams inevitably meet in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It’s a big deal given that Boston has now won 12 straight at TD Garden.

The Rangers brought the game to 3-2 in the third period before penalty trouble ultimately sealed their fate later in the frame.

Mika Zibanejad scored twice, goals No. 29 and 30, for the lone silver lining for the Blue Shirts, who have won just twice in the month of March.

Henrik Lundqvist put himself in the save of the year conversation with his dandy in the first period.

Lundqvist made his 50th appearance for the Rangers this season, making him the seventh netminder in league history to have appeared in at least 50 games in at least 12 different seasons, joining a pretty elite crew of puck stoppers.

He is one win shy of 450 in his NHL career.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

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