NEW YORK — On the night he was named to the NHL All-Star Game, top Bruins scorer David Pastrnak did not land a shot on net — a true rarity for the right winger, who entered the game at Madison Square Garden with the most shots on net (217) in the league.
Pastrnak leads the club in scoring with 36 goals and 63 points, by far the best scoring pace of his career.
“I don’t know if it’s the best I’ve played, but it’s the best I’ve felt, for sure,” said the dynamic right winger after the Bruins defeated the Rangers, 3-1.
Some of the contributing factors to his success, he said, included remaining clear of COVID, his fellow Czech linemates (Pavel Zacha and David Krejci), added confidence, and increased ice time.
And above all, he noted, he’s having fun.
“For me, I need to have fun on the ice, you know?” said Pastrnak, who’ll be joined in Florida by teammate Linus Ullmark and coach Jim Montgomery. “That’s when I play at my best.”
During the postgame gaggle with reporters, Pastrnak lit up when eyeing a picture of the All-Star sweater he’ll be wearing.
“Oh, that’s nice,” he said, looking at the image. “Very old school. I like that. Reminds me a little of when I first learned about NHL jerseys.”
The design, he was informed, was based on a 1994 rendition of the All-Star sweater.
“I hadn’t even been born yet,” said the smiling All Star.
Pastrnak was one of 12 players selected through the 2023 Honda All-Star Fan Vote.
This is the third All-Star selection for the 26-year-old Pastrnak, who was the NHL All-Star Game MVP in 2020.
Here’s a complete look at the rosters
Atlantic Division: Head coach: Jim Montgomery, BOS
Nikita Kucherov, TBL; Dylan Larkin, DET; Mitchell Marner, TOR; Auston Matthews, TOR; David Pastrnak, BOS; Nick Suzuki, MTL; Tage Thompson, BUF; Brady Tkachuk, OTT; Matthew Tkachuk, FLA; Linus Ullmark, BOS; Andrei Vasilevskiy, TBL.
Central Division: Head coach: Peter DeBoer, DAL
Kirill Kaprizov, MIN; Clayton Keller, ARI; Nathan MacKinnon, COL; Mikko Rantanen, COL; Jason Robertson, DAL; Vladimir Tarasenko, STL; Seth Jones, CHI; Cale Makar, COL; Josh Morrissey, WPG; Connor Hellebuyck, WPG; Juuse Saros, NSH.
Metropolitan Division: Head coach: Rod Brind’Amour, CAR
Sidney Crosby, PIT; Johnny Gaudreau, CBJ; Kevin Hayes, PHI; Jack Hughes, NJD; Brock Nelson, NYI; Alex Ovechkin, WSH; Artemi Panarin, NYR; Andrei Svechnikov, CAR; Adam Fox, NYR; Igor Shesterkin, NYR; Ilya Sorokin, NYI.
Pacific Division: Head coach: Bruce Cassidy, VGK (2nd)
Matty Beniers, SEA; Leon Draisaitl, EDM; Kevin Fiala, LAK; Bo Horvat, VAN; Nazem Kadri, CGY; Connor McDavid, EDM; Elias Pettersson, VAN; Troy Terry, ANA; Erik Karlsson, SJS; Stuart Skinner, EDM; Logan Thompson, VGK.
All-Star Weekend is set to run Feb. 2-5 in South Florida, with the 2023 NHL All-Star Skills Challenge set for Friday and the 2023 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Saturday, Feb. 4.
Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.