NEW YORK — David Pastrnak didn’t score a goal, for the first time in nearly two weeks.
He still produced the second 5-point night of his career.
Pastrnak, who vaulted into the league scoring lead (11-12—23 in 11 games), had five assists, including primary setups on the first three Boston goals in its 7-4 win against the host Rangers on Sunday night.
He cruised the wing and crashed the net before Patrice Bergeron’s chip, which tied the game 11 seconds into the second period. A quick dish to Brad Marchand in front, with the Rangers expecting him to shoot, made it 2-1 at 1:08. Forty-three seconds into the third, he put it on a tee for a Zdeno Chara one-timer.
His final two assists were cake frosting. He dumped it cross-corner before Bergeron made it 6-2. With the net empty, he made sure to dish it to Marchand, who found Bergeron for his hat trick.
“He does it all right now, and he’s so confident,” said an appreciative Marchand, who is 7-13—20 after the fifth 5-point game of his career. “You never know what he’s going to do with the puck. Even we don’t know.
“He feels like he can do anything. When he feels like that, he’s dangerous. He’s fun to watch . . . He has so many different ways he can beat you.”
Bergeron said they’ve come to “expect the unexpected” when their right winger has the puck, but their chemistry comes from communication.
“Pasta’s always talking,” Bergeron said. “He wants to change it and come up with different faceoff plays and whatnot. He’s a very smart player. He’s got an instinct.”
Aches and pains
Already missing second-line center David Krejci and winger Karson Kuhlman, the Bruins faced the Rangers without a pair of fourth-line wingers. Then they lost a center during the game.
An infection issue, coach Bruce Cassidy said before puck drop at Madison Square Garden, kept Joakim Nordstrom out of the lineup. So was Chris Wagner, who was limping after blocking an Alex Pietrangelo blast with his left foot in Saturday’s 3-0 win over the Blues. On Sunday, Par Lindholm left with an upper-body injury after skating 7:04.
Cassidy was hoping Krejci (upper body) could return for Tuesday’s home game against the Sharks, but wasn’t certain if he will.
Nordstrom spent the offseason recovering from a foot injury sustained in the playoffs, and picked up an undisclosed upper-body ailment. He missed the first three games, played four, then missed two more. Wagner, who missed the Stanley Cup Final with a broken forearm (thanks to a Justin Faulk slapper in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final), had been healthy for every game (0-2—2).
With Wagner and Nordstrom out of the lineup, Peter Cehlarik got the call from Providence. He rode with Sean Kuraly and David Backes, returning to the lineup after taking a scratch in five of the previous seven games.
Cehlarik, 24, is trying to make an impression in his fourth year as a pro. The 2013 third-round pick (90th overall), now a veteran of 143 AHL games (49-58—107), has suited up 37 times for the varsity (5-5—10).
He signed a one-year deal at a league-minimum $700,000 salary to remain in Boston, which means he knows his chances are running out.
“I thought Pete was OK,” Cassidy said after Cehlarik logged 12 quiet minutes Sunday. “He didn’t seem to get his legs under him.”
He produced six goals in six games for Providence before recall, including one Saturday night against Laval.
Ways to win
The Bruins, who have banked 18 of an available 22 points, had the best points percentage (.818) in the NHL through 11 games. They also had the most regulation wins (eight).
They were one of three teams — Buffalo and Vancouver being the others — who hadn’t lost in regulation at home (4-0-1).
“Record is good,” Cassidy said. “Special teams, very good. Goaltending, very good. Our team defense has been good when it’s needed to be.”
Cassidy noted how the Bruins won with their “B” games in Dallas, Arizona, and Anaheim, protecting slim leads.
“I think we’ve played winning hockey in games when we haven’t been at our best,” he said. “I don’t think we’re anywhere near a complete 60-minute game. We’re trending that way.”
Sunday was the first back-to-back for Boston, which was 9-2-2 in the second game of B2Bs last year.
In those games, managing the workload of his veterans was important for Cassidy, who spread out the minutes well in a special-teams heavy match with St. Louis, playing Bergeron just 9:55 at even strength and 19:41 in all.
Some 24 hours later in the rout in New York, Bergeron logged 18:18, Marchand 17:08, and Pastrnak 16:05. They combined for 13 points as a line.
The Bruins’ ice-time leaders, Charlie McAvoy and Chara, ranked 43rd and 52nd in the league in average time on ice. Their most-used forward, Marchand, was tied for 23rd among forwards (19:50).
The Bruins have three back-to-backs next month: Nov. 4 (Pittsburgh) and 5 (at Montreal); Nov. 15 (at Toronto) and 16 (at Washington); and Nov. 26 (at Montreal) and 27 (at Ottawa).
They have none in December, one in January, four in February, and one in March.