David Pastrnak showed up in style to Monday’s matinee against the Ducks. Before downing a pregame plate of eggs and pancakes, the Bruins winger strolled into TD Garden quaffing an iced coffee, looking slick in a salmon suit, white shirt, and black tie. He topped it with a black fedora, a souvenir from a trip to Nashville.
The hat was waiting for him in the changing room after the game, but by then, several dozen fans had lost theirs.
Boston’s No. 88 scored four times in a 4-2 win over Anaheim on Columbus Day, thrilling a sold-out crowd with the first four-goal game of his six-year career. It was the 23-year-old’s fifth hat trick.
“It’s always nice. That’s what I’m getting paid for,” said Pastrnak, who moved into second place in the NHL in goals (six, tied with Toronto’s Auston Matthews and Detroit’s Anthony Mantha; Edmonton’s James Neal has seven).
Nearly two weeks into the season, Pastrnak is one of seven players to hit the 10-point mark (6-4—10), sitting two off league leader Connor McDavid (4-8—12).
Pastrnak, who led the Bruins with 38 goals last season, had 11 of them in October. With six in six games thus far, he is well on his way to that — and perhaps another career high.
“A new year for me. Just trying to be a better player than last year,” said Pastrnak, who couldn’t remember the last time he’d scored four in a game. It was “a way long time ago.”
He was in his office for the first goal, the Bruins using eight seconds to score on their first man advantage.
Patrice Bergeron (two assists) lost a faceoff, but Anaheim defenseman Hampus Lindholm made a poor clearing attempt, knocking it off the boards to Torey Krug. With the Ducks scrambling to reset, Krug went to the bumper to Bergeron, who delayed a half-second to draw Anaheim’s attention. Pastrnak went knee-down with his one-timer, beating netminder John Gibson with a laser, far side over the glove, 4:18 into the affair.
Lindholm helped the Bruins make it 2-0 at 11:38 of the second. On a retrieval, the defenseman pitched a blind backhand to the middle, where Brad Marchand (two assists) was happy to pluck it, curl outside, and hit a streaking Pastrnak for his second goal.
The hats flew after a quick snap off the faceoff 2:20 into the third. That one was Marchand’s favorite.
“He planned that pretty good,” he said. “Good bounce. Hat trick goals are always fun.”
A power-play strike 2:14 later made Pastrnak the Bruins’ first four-goal man since Bergeron on Jan. 6, 2018, against Carolina. He got position on Lindholm at the right post, using the 30-odd pounds he has added since joining the league as a 167-pound 18-year-old in 2015, and tapped a far-side Marchand feed past Gibson.
“He’s a great player,” netminder Jaroslav Halak said of Pastrnak. “He proves it every game. And he’s got great linemates out there.”
The Bruins’ top line has scored 11 of the team’s 16 goals so far. They and Halak (30 saves on 32 shots) carried them through a rough second period Monday.
After outshooting the Ducks, 9-2, the Bruins sagged into a 21-6 shot deficit until the end of the second period. They coughed up the puck, allowed a pair of three-on-one breaks, and Halak’s shutout bid was spoiled at 17:52 of the second when Rickard Rakell sneaked a low shot through the netminder.
Bruce Cassidy’s team regained its form in the third (outshot, 8-6) after what the coach termed an “exceptionally poor” middle frame.
“Our first periods have been terrific,” Cassidy said. “We’ve got to get a little more into work mode in those second periods.
“It’s early in the year — are we thinking it’s going to be an easy game?”
It wasn’t Monday, despite the score and the hats. The Ducks (4-2-0) halved the lead with 3:52 left. Adam Henrique scored after Halak muffed the puck at his left post, and Nick Ritchie, brother of first-year Bruin Brett Ritchie, slid it to a waiting Henrique in front.
Halak was otherwise outstanding. He made six saves on the penalty kill to help the Bruins go 4 for 4 on the PK. Tuukka Rask is likely to take more of the workload in the coming weeks, Cassidy said pregame. But Halak expects to stay sharp.
“I just take it day by day,” Halak said. “Whenever I play or they give me a game, I’ll do my best to help the guys. They do the same for me.”
The top line had enough offense, and Halak was good enough, to bring the Bruins (5-1-0, 10 points) within 1 point of the Atlantic-leading Sabres. Tampa Bay (2-2-1), off to a so-so start, will be hungry Thursday when it comes to TD Garden.
“It’s not easy to rack up those points,” Bergeron said. “Any way you can get them, you take them. We know they’re going to be big points by the end. We know how tight it is every year at the end of the season.”
Bergeron couldn’t remember much of anything about his four-goal night. He didn’t even remember he did it.
“Did I score four goals last year?” he said, brow furrowed. “No, I felt the same, I guess. I don’t remember much. Just tried to play my game. The puck was going in.”
Walking into the Garden, Pastrnak knew he had it working.
“He’s always got it,” Marchand said. “He’s such a talented player. He’s dangerous on every single play.”