Pastrnak earned his second career playoff hat trick and the Bruins opened the second round of the playoffs with a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
“I think our guys reacted well. They’re a veteran enough group to understand what’s at stake, ”said Boston coach Bruce Cassidy. “We thought there would be a bit of battling, shoving, shocks under the goal lines both offensively and defensively, which might take a bit of getting used to. “
There was a lot of shoving, shocking, and all-out strikes as the Boston-New York rivalry returned to the playoffs. It was very special in Boston on Saturday, when Massachusetts lifted COVID-19 restrictions and capacity limits, and the TD Garden was once again open to fans to pack the house – as they did before.
The Bruins, who hadn’t played since winning their first-round series against Washington last Sunday, soaked up energy and kept pace throughout the three periods, passing the Islanders 40-22 and taking a 1-0 lead in the best. of-7 series.
“It was obviously a little fun,” Pastrnak said. “It’s great to find the fans again. You could already feel the energy this morning. We were all excited. “
Charlie McAvoy and Taylor Hall also scored for the Bruins, and David Krejci had three assists. Patrice Bergeron collected two assists for the Bruins, who will host Game 2 on Monday night.
Tuukka Rask finished with 20 saves as the Bruins kept most of the action on the other end of the ice, passing the Islanders 40-22.
Rask didn’t let anything go after Adam Pelech’s goal for the Islanders at 12:34 of the second period equaled him at 2. It was one of only four shots of the period for the Islanders, who were performing in front of a rowdy crowd of fans. which packed the TD Garden for the first time in over a year.
“The energy, the atmosphere was everything we expected and more. To say that we missed them is an understatement, ”said Bergeron. “I think you appreciate it even more when the fans are a bit removed from the game for a while and you have to play without them. “
Anthony Beauvillier also scored for the Islanders, Jordan Eberle had two assists and Ilya Sorokin finished with 35 saves, keeping New York in the first 40 minutes despite the onslaught of shots from the Bruins.
“We have to challenge them a little more,” said New York coach Barry Trotz. “We backed off. They will play through you. ”
Trotz said the range between shots was perhaps a bit misleading. The score was still 2 after two periods, thanks in large part to Sorokin.
The rookie goaltender stopped Pastrnak twice on a single close stroke in the first period, but couldn’t hold back the Bruins sniper as he earned his second career playoff hat trick.
Pastrnak, whose first playoff hat trick came three years ago in Game 2 of the opening round against Toronto, scored his third Saturday after crossing the Islanders’ zone and landing a wrist shot. ahead of Sorokin at 2:10 pm of the third period.
Hats began to fly from all levels of the arena, which grew strong enough to shake in the few minutes it took to clear the ice as exhilarated Boston fans celebrated the comeback inside. of the arena and another Bruins victory.
“It was amazing. Obviously it was nice to see the hats, ”said Pastrnak.
Pastrnak’s goal and an empty net from Hall in the last minute sparked several anti-New York chants and a few rounds of “We Want The Cup!” “
NOTES: Beauvillier has scored one goal in three straight playoff games and extended his points streak to five games. … Boston F Craig Smith came out with a lower body injury and did not return to the bench for the third period. Cassidy said Smith will be evaluated on Sunday. … Bruins D Matt Grzelcyk limped to the bench after being equalized by Leo Komarov in the corner in the second period. Grzelcyk took a while to get up and skated on the next lane change, but returned soon after.
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