Boston Bruins: David Pastrnak’s impending return couldn’t come at a more perfect time

Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88). Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88). Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

David Pastrnak is about to give the Boston Bruins a perfectly-timed super boost.

Yet to play in the 2020-21 NHL season after undergoing hip surgery and labral repair during the offseason, David Pastrnak has been a huge loss for the Boston Bruins but the good news is that the potent goalscorer is closing in on a return way ahead of schedule.

Yes, the joint-winner of the 2019-20 Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy with Alex Ovechkin after lighting the lamp 48 times last year was seen wearing a full-contact jersey at Bruins practice on Monday, and he could well make his long-awaited return to action later this week.

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While it isn’t expected that Pastrnak will be in the lineup for Boston’s two-game homestand against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday and on Thursday, B’s Head Coach Bruce Cassidy revealed that the 24-year-old will travel with the team at the end of the week for their two-game set against the Washington Capitals in D.C. and could well make his season debut on Saturday night.

That is incredibly good news for the Boston Bruins who are currently fourth in an incredibly stacked East Division with a 3-1-1 record. Granted, they’ve been better as of late but they struggled without their prized asset in the first week of the 2020-21 season, failing to score a single goal at 5-on-5 in their first three games.

The offense has woken up somewhat in the last couple of games with six goals in a dominant win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, while they also put five goals past the same opponent on Thursday. However, one of those goals in the first game with the Flyers came in a shootout while four of the 11 goals scored across the two games came on the power play. Furthermore, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand combined for four of the 11 goals too.

David Pastrnak’s return will help to elevate the Boston Bruins to next level

So it is clear that 5-on-5 scoring and a lack of secondary scoring is still somewhat of a problem for the Bruins, although their bottom-six forward unit did have themselves a day in the 5-4 Shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday. But, seven of Boston’s 13 goals this season have come via special teams and they have scored just six goals at even-strength while allowing seven, and their current shooting percentage at 5-on-5 is a mere 5.0%.

Granted, one player won’t solve all of their woes at 5-on-5 given that this is a long-standing problem for the Bruins, something we attributed to General Manager Don Sweeney who failed to address the fatal flaw in the offseason, while we also proposed a trade for New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri, who would no doubt add a significant scoring punch to this offense.

However, David Pastrnak is a special player and, having put right the ailments that hindered him after the restart and throughout the 2019-20 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it is feasible to think that the Boston Bruins will be getting back a fully healthy and raring to go Pastrnak, and that will only give this team a well-timed boost.

After all, while they have showed some signs of improvement, they still have work to do to make up ground in the East Division where things will no doubt go down to the wire, and reuniting Pastrnak with Marchand and Bergeron will give the Bruins one of the top and most dangerous lines in all of hockey, which is incredibly bad news for the rest of that division.

David Pastrnak (88)
Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88). Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

And, while it may take him a week or so to get back up to speed, Pastrnak should now be completely unhindered and it wouldn’t be surprising if he comes flying out of the gate given his considerable talent and skill set, and the right winger will no doubt be looking to take that next giant leap in his game after racking up 95 points (48 G, 47 A) in 70 regular-season games last year.

Plus, there is no denying or understating Pastrnak’s sheer importance to this team. He gives them a unique weapon on the power play with his lethal slap shot and quick release, while he can shoot the puck from literally anywhere on the ice which presents netminders with nightmares on the PP and at even-strength.

Pastrnak also boasts filthy mitts and he has the ability to do things with the puck on his stick that few others can, while he can change the momentum of a game in an instant, something the Bruins are lacking right now. He just adds a different dimension to this team and there is no doubt that the Boston Bruins will be much better with their star offensive weapon in the lineup.

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With both Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron starting to really hit their stride, they will only get better once they have David Pastrnak back on their line and having the trio all at the peak of their powers and contributing huge amounts of offense should be the spark the Boston Bruins need to start asserting their dominance on the East Division, and they could look a completely different team should David Pastrnak make his long-awaited return to action this weekend.