Pastrnak’s 14th Career Hat Trick Lifts Bruins by Pens, 4-3
David Pastrnak finished off his 14th career hat trick with a blast by Tristan Jarry with 2:26 remaining to lift the Boston Bruins to a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
The Bruins' 59th win of the season moved them within three games of the NHL's all-time victory mark set by Detroit in 1996 and tied by Tampa Bay in 2019. Boston has six games remaining.
Pastrnak's three goals gave him 56 on the season and pushed him across the 100-point plateau for the first time in his nine-year career. Charlie McAvoy scored his seventh goal for the Bruins. Jeremy Swayman stopped 21 shots as Boston won for the ninth time in 10 games.
Bryan Rust scored twice for Pittsburgh, his first multigoal game since Feb. 1, 2022, against Washington. Jake Guentzel's 35th of the season with 7:30 left in regulation tied the game. Jarry stopped 31 shots but couldn't get a handle Pastrnak's one-timer from the slot in the final minutes.
The Bruins wrapped up the fourth Presidents Trophy in franchise history with a victory over Columbus on Thursday and aren't shying away from a shot at putting together the greatest regular season in NHL history.
Still, with home ice throughout the playoffs assured, Boston coach Jim Montgomery gave captain Patrice Bergeron the day off to deal with what Montgomery described as nagging injuries.
No matter. The machine rolled on.
Boston controlled play almost from the opening faceoff, the NHL's second-oldest team looking decidedly fresher than the Penguins, the only club in the league older than the Bruins.
While Boston is already eyeing the postseason, Pittsburgh is in a tight battle with Florida for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Jarry provided a needed jolt with his 13th career shutout in a victory over Nashville on Thursday in the type of intelligent game Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said his team needs to play regularly down the stretch if it wants to reach the postseason for the 17th straight time.
It didn't happen against the Bruins. While Jarry was fine, Boston jumped on Pittsburgh's mistakes. A Chad Ruhwedel roughing penalty for an unnecessary hit against David Krejci along the boards in the first period put the Bruins on the power play and McAvoy tapped in a pass from Pavel Zacha 6:20 into the first to put Boston in front.
Pittsburgh responded immediately, with Sidney Crosby doing most of the work while weaving through traffic before slipping the puck to Rust, who flicked it over Swayman just 1:13 after McAvoy's goal.
The score did little to shift momentum. Evgeni Malkin tripped Boston's Brad Marchand late in the first period, and Pastrnak converted on the power play early in the second to become the first Bruin to reach 100 points in a season since Marchand did it in 2019.
Pittsburgh, despite only intermittently pressuring Swayman, tied it 4:09 into the third with a little bit of help from McAvoy. Swayman stopped Rust's wrist shot on the rush only to have McAvoy plow into him, jarring the puck loose and into the net.
Pastrnak's 55th goal of the season 7:07 into the third put Boston in front yet again but Guentzel's fifth goal in his last six games drew Pittsburgh even with 7:30 remaining.
Pastrnak, however, wasn't done. His 56th goal moved him into a tie with Cam Neely for the second-most hat tricks in franchise history, behind only Hall of Famer Phil Esposito's 26.
Bruins: Visit St. Louis on Sunday.
Penguins: Welcome cross-state rival Philadelphia on Sunday night.