MONTREAL — This has been a difficult season for David Pastrnak, who missed seven weeks in the NHL with a non-displaced fracture in his foot, returned to the lineup, and promptly missed three more games.
Pastrnak returned on Tuesday against the Canadiens, after being a game-time decision, and had a goal and an assist as the Bruins beat Montreal, 4-1. His return, though, came in an interesting position, replacing the injured Landon Ferraro on the fourth line, skating alongside Zac Rinaldo and Max Talbot. (Ferraro is out with an upper-body injury sustained on Monday, Julien said. The Bruins said Ferraro is “day-to-day.”)
It wasn’t exactly his usual spot. But Pastrnak and the fourth line came up big.
“He did a great job,” coach Claude Julien said. “We put him on the fourth line and not to have to play against top lines and at the same time with two guys that work their butts off and create things.
“When I put him out there in the third in the middle of the third period, I said guys go out there and have a great shift for us, and not only that, but Pasta did a great job of jumping on that loose puck and scoring the insurance goal. For this young player who hasn’t played in a while, it was a good start for him.”
Pastrnak had the primary assist on Patrice Bergeron’s winner, and added a wraparound goal at 12:14 of the third period, giving the Bruins some needed insurance.
Earlier in the day, Pastrnak said that as tough as the season had been for him, it was still just January. There is time left.
“I missed a lot of hockey — that’s frustrating for every player,” Pastrnak said Tuesday morning. “Nothing I can do. Still a lot of hockey left. I have to get back and help the team and get better every day. It’s a lot of games left.”
He did, immediately, despite playing only 7 minutes, 5 seconds. In fact, his goal came on his first shift of the third period, which started 11:58 into the final period. He played just two shifts in the second, with long stretches on the bench.
“It felt good,” said Pastrnak, who later added he still felt the injury a bit while shooting. “I play after a while again. It felt nice to be back. I was focusing to be good in the D-zone and do the small things in the game.”
And he wasn’t alone. His line, even with limited playing time, made an impact.
“They played a great game,” Bergeron said. “Every time they were on the ice, they had a chance or they were making something happen on the ice. Their forecheck, I thought, [resulted in] three goals, actually. So, yeah, it was a great game by them.”
As Pastrnak said, “They are hard-working guys. I tried to take some skills into that line and a lot of skating. I think we did our job today.”
Tribute to Laing
Before the game, the Canadiens had a video tribute to Denna Laing, the Boston Pride player who suffered a significant spinal injury in the Outdoor Women’s Classic at Gillette Stadium. The NHL has started auctioning off game-worn and game-issued Winter Classic-designed jerseys the Bruins and Canadiens wore in Tuesday’s game to support Laing.
The auction, which can be found at auctions.nhl.com/DennaLaing, will run until Feb. 11. “I thought they did a great job at the beginning of the game, that tribute,” Bergeron said. “I think it’s a great thing that both teams are [doing]. It’s an easy thing for us to do and hopefully we can raise a lot of money for that.” As of late Tuesday night, the first night of the auction, the bid for Bergeron’s jersey had already topped $5,000. Tuukka Rask’s was at more than $3,500. Said Rask, “It’s a big hockey family and if the league and the players have a chance to help out, we’re glad to do that.”
Julien got a big laugh from the Montreal media when he was asked if he sympathizes with the situation Canadiens coach Michel Therrien is currently in, given the way the team is playing and his job security at stake. Said Julien, in French, “I’m in that situation every year!” . . . The NHL announced on Tuesday that John Scott, the former Coyote who was traded to Montreal on Jan. 15, will captain the Pacific division team at the All-Star Game in Nashville. Scott, an enforcer who played in 11 games for the Coyotes this season with one assist, was voted in by the fans. But when he moved to the Atlantic Division and was sent to the AHL by the Canadiens after they acquired him, it seemed he would become ineligible to play in the game. However, according to an NHL press release, the league decided “to maintain the status quo for the All-Star weekend in order to preserve all parties’ pre-existing expectations, including Scott’s desire to participate.” . . . The Bruins killed five penalties against the Canadiens, stretching their overall total 21 consecutive kills . . . Colin Miller and Tyler Randell were scratched and Joe Morrow returned to the lineup.