The Bruins pulled off a thrilling 3-2 overtime win over the Phildelphia Flyers on Saturday at TD Garden. Brad Marchand scored the tying goal with 14.1 left in regulation during a 6-on-4 power play, and then netted the winner.
"You know it was an important game for us - the Flyers are right behind us, so we knew it was going to be a hard game, but we wanted a win and try to get the better of them," the always smiling but soft-spoken Pastrnak said postgame.
But now the Bruins will quickly turn their attention to the Detroit Red Wings for a Sunday matinee (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC, 98.5 The Sports Hub), with another two crucial points on the line.
"This game is over now and it’s good we got two points, but we have a game [Sunday] and we have to get ready for [that] game," Pastrnak said simply.
Detroit hasn't played since Friday night, but the Bruins aren't focused on the challenge of the back-to-back against a rested team, even if the game was originally schedule for 7:00 p.m. before NBC chose it for its "Game of the Week" matinee.
"You know, we got a game pushed up, and not only pushed up from 7 to 12:30, but you might as well play at 11:30 with the clocks going ahead [for Daylight Saving Time], so again, just challenge after challenge and we’ve just got to face those things and get ourselves ready," Head Coach Claude Julien said after Saturday's win.
"It’s important right now that our guys get out of here, get a good meal in themselves and get some good rest to prepare for [Sunday] because [Sunday’s] game to me is just as important as [this one]."
The Bruins gave themselves a slight cushion in the standings, now with 74 points in the second Wild Card spot. As a result, the Florida Panthers were four points back heading into their game on Saturday night against the New York Islanders. When the puck drops Sunday against Detroit, the B's will still have two games in hand on Florida.
The Flyers fell in OT, but still picked up a point, putting them five points behind the Bruins through 66 games. The gunning Ottawa Senators also have 69 points, but through 63 games, with one game in hand now on Boston.
"I mean, every team is going to give us a big challenge, a big game. Like I said before the game, it doesn’t matter who we play, every team we are going to play for the rest of the season is going to give us their best fight," said Zdeno Chara. "And we have to play the same way."
"We have teams that are either really close behind us or teams right ahead of us that will be fighting for better positions or every point basically. So it’s playoff mode, playoff hockey."
The Red Wings have 83 points heading into Sunday's game, ranked third in the Atlantic Division behind Montreal and Tampa Bay. They may be ahead of the Bruins points-wise, but they're also jockeying for playoff positioning.
The Bruins are hoping to carry over momentum from their overtime win into the divisional matchup. The killer instinct showed in the victory should definitely give them extra jump - it was the kind of win that happened often last season, but that hasn't happened often enough this season.
"It was a really important win for us, especially the way that it happened, too - we’re down, but never out," said Torey Krug. "[Philadelphia] scored a big goal with four minutes left and we responded very well. So it was nice to be on that side of things for a change."
The Bruins know the Red Wings' fast-paced game well. Detroit plays with speed and has plenty of skill, but can also wear teams down.
"We’ve got to be especially focused on not shooting ourselves in the foot, by not managing the puck well," said Julien. "And we’ve got to make some smart plays. We’ve got to play a smart game."
The Wings are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames, marking just their third loss in regulation by more than one goal all season. Their previous two losses by more than a goal came against Montreal (4-1 on Nov. 16, 2-0 on Feb. 16).
Prior to the loss, they squeezed out a 2-1 OT win over the New York Rangers in Detroit, after coming back from a strong six-game road trip that saw them earn nine of 12 points.
Rask or Svedberg?
Following Saturday's win, Tuukka Rask had appeared in 21 of the Bruins' last 22 games.
Julien opted not to confirm the starter for Sunday's game.
"Oh, I don’t know yet. I’ll have to sleep on it," he said.
Rask has always said he'll play every game if necessary. With Boston in the playoff hunt, Julien could start him back between the pipes.
"I mean we’ll see what happens [Sunday], but I’m always ready to play," Rask said postgame on Saturday. "It’s not like it was a full period of overtime."
Being More Aggressive on the PK
The Bruins wanted to tighten up their penalty kill heading into the Flyers game. Their first PK went that way, but the second allowed yet another power-play goal.
Philadelphia may have come into the game with the NHL's third ranked man-advantage, but the Bruins have been too passive on the penalty kill, now having allowed nine goals in their past nine games.
Detroit owns the top ranked power play, so Boston has to clamp down and be much more aggressive, not letting offensive weapons like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg make plays.
Chara's Point Production
Chara has scored twice in the Bruins' past two games from the point on the power play. He scored 10 power play goals in 2013-14 by mostly owning his new spot in front of the net on the man advantage.
He spent most of this season in that same position, but with a stalemate on the power play that caused a change-up on the units in the past few weeks, Chara has been manning the point. One of the goals came off is patented blast, and Saturday's tally came from a long-range wrister.
"He’s adjusted pretty well," said Julien. "He’s getting his shots through and you know, again, sometimes it’s not always the big slap shot but just making sure that you get shots to the net. I know he works hard in practice. He goes out there early and takes a ton of shots all the time, and it’s nice to see him get rewarded for that."
"Yeah I like it, it was something I use to play before," said Chara of the switch. "You know, sometimes it’s just a wrist shot that finds a way to get in. It’s nice to see we switched it up a little, we mixed up the units and it’s working right now."
Julien Pleased with Fourth Line
Campbell returned on Saturday after being sidelined for four games with an upper-body injury.
"I was pleasantly surprised at the way I felt, energy wise and the injury, so it was good," said the center, who played his first game with new Bruin Max Talbot on his right wing, and had the comfort of Daniel Paille on his left wing.
He iced a puck late in the third that eventually led to a Flyers' goal, and took accountability for the mistake postgame, but overall, Julien liked what he saw from the new line.
"I liked that fourth line," said Julien. "They did a great job, you know, and those are three veteran players and they played with a lot of energy and. Dan was skating like we’re used to seeing him skating and getting physically involved, and Soupy was excited to be back, and Max just, I think he’s got a great personality that I think is going to keep that line excited, and playing with a lot of intensity."
"He’s got some experience. He’s a former captain back in the day, and he’s been a great leader, so I think he’s a guy that understands the game. He understands his role. He knows he’s not the 50-goal scorer, but he’ll certainly go out there and he’ll create them. As you could see, he creates chances and can have some of his opportunities as well."
Talbot Feeling at Home with Boston
Talbot recorded his first point as a Bruin when he assisted on Marchand's overtime winner on Saturday, setting him up with a quick saucer pass off the rush. Talbot had been given a shift with Marchand and Patrice Bergeron prior to the goal.
While he's been in the Spoked-B for barely as week, and just two games, he has seemed to fit in well on and off the ice.
"It’s been great since I got the phone call from Mr. Chiarelli, and the guys have just been so welcoming and so nice to me," said Talbot. "I feel like I’ve known a couple of these guys. And on the ice as well, it’s been good, it’s been simple. The guys have made it easy for me. It’s going to be a good fit."
Talbot had an idea of the warm welcome he might receive, thanks to his teammate in Colorado, Jarome Iginla.
"Well, I talked to him at the start of the year, I was asking him about how it was in Boston, and he shot me a text when I got traded as well," said Talbot. "He said it’s a great spot, great hockey spot, good team and he only had good things to say about the city and the team."
Maybe Talbot will cement his new Black and Gold status by reminding the Red Wings about his past prowess against them - most notably scoring both goals in Pittsburgh's Game 7 Stanley Cup-winning 2-1 victory over Detroit in 2009.
Projected Lineup vs. Detroit March 8
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith
Milan Lucic - Ryan Spooner - David Pastrnak
Chris Kelly - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Max Talbot
Zdeno Chara - Dougie Hamilton
Matt Bartkowski - Dennis Seidenberg
Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid
Starter: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Niklas Svedberg
Healthy Scratch: Brian Ferlin
Injured: Brett Connolly (finger), David Krejci (MCL), Kevan Miller (shoulder, out for season)