BOSTON - Brad Marchand potted a hat trick and David Pastrnak notched a pair of goals as the Bruins' offense exploded on Saturday afternoon in a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden. Boston erupted for five goals in the second period, their first such frame since a five-goal second against Florida in March 2019.
"It's in the room," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said of his club's offensive ability. "It was all our top guys tonight. Obviously, you're going to have games like this where throughout the course of the year, with the type of resumes they have…Pasta, March, [Patrice Bergeron], [David Krejci], these guys, they're going to have some games.
"We just haven't had a lot of them for whatever reason. We've run into some really good goaltending. I thought the goals we scored today were excellent. There were no fluky ones…nice plays, high-end plays by high-end players."
Boston extended its lead to 6-4 with 6:32 to go on Pastrnak's second of the game and held on over the final minutes despite a furious push from the Penguins that included a shorthanded goal from Sidney Crosby with 1:15 left. Pittsburgh was awarded a power play off the ensuing faceoff when Bergeron was whistled for a high stick, but Marchand put an end to the drama with his third of the game into an empty net with 1:01 remaining.
"I think it's a good learning experience for our group," said Marchand, whose hat trick was the fourth of his career. "These are the games where you have to be able to go through some adversity, play different kinds of games. It's not always gonna be the same, especially come playoff time.
"You have to keep the lead, keep building on it. I think that's one thing we did a really good job of. Once we got the lead we didn't sit back, we kept playing. The goals we scored late ended up being big for us."
Video: Marchand hat trick, four points power Bruins to win
Marchand Delivers - Again
Marchand has been the Bruins' most effective player since returning from a two-game absence that was the result of a false positive COVID test. Boston's alternate captain has now scored in three straight games following his four-point outing on Saturday afternoon.
The winger grabbed his first of the game - off a beautiful dish from Matt Grzelcyk - with 5:04 to go in the second to tie things, 3-3, before notching his second with just 20 seconds remaining in the frame to extend Boston's lead to 5-3.
Marchand capped his hat trick with 1:01 to go when he took a Charlie Coyle feed and buried one into the empty net from the neutral zone.
"He's been a world-class player for a while now," said Pastrnak. "He's a huge part of our hockey team. He's on fire and we all love to see it. He's energetic and we all need to feed off his energy more…he does it all."
Video: PIT@BOS: Marchand records hat trick in win
Pastrnak Breaks Through
Pastrnak, meanwhile, had been quiet of late with no goals in five straight games. The 24-year-old broke that streak on Saturday with his 15th and 16th goals of the season, the second of which proved to be the game winner.
"It was nice. It's going to help our confidence," said Pastrnak. "We've had trouble scoring lately so overall a huge two points and scored seven goals. It's great. It's been a while since we saw hats at the Garden. Obviously fun, and I saw some bunny ears [on the fans]. Big win today. Gonna rest up and get ready for Monday."
Video: PIT@BOS: Pastrnak scores off 2-on-1
Krejci Hits Milestone
Krejci potted his second goal of the season with a power-play tally from the doorstep with 1:31 left in the second to give Boston a 4-3 lead, but it was his helper on Pastrnak's first goal that gave him a little bit of history. The pivot's assist was the 500th of his career, making him just the seventh Bruin to reach the mark, joining Ray Bourque, Johnny Bucyk, Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Bergeron, and Wayne Cashman.
"It's an outstanding accomplishment," said Pastrnak, who retrieved the puck for Krejci. "I'm really happy for him…500 assists, he's a playmaker, so I hope it means a lot. It's incredible. Not many Czech players have done it…I kept that in the back of my head [and made sure to get the puck]. Happy we got it done today."
Krejci, who recently became the eighth Bruin to reach the 700-point plateau, has 10 points (goal, nine assists) in his last seven games.
"It's always nice to have a game like this…changed up the lines a little bit and it paid off…we definitely needed two points," said Krejci. "We're trying to build something here. We only have 20 or so games left before playoffs. It seems like a lot but it's not.
"You've got to start creating good habits, play the right way and keep winning games. That was a good step in the right direction. Keep it rolling."
In search of a more balanced offensive attack, Cassidy bumped Pastrnak down to play with Krejci and Nick Ritchie before Thursday's game against the Penguins, a move that started to show dividends on Saturday afternoon with the trio combining for three goals and seven points.
"I always like playing with Pasta," said Krejci, who opted to go sans helmet during warmups for a rare man bun-ponytail look in an attempt to change the team's luck. "He's such a gifted player and he's always in the right spot, especially in the offensive zone. He makes things happen.
"It's fun to play with a guy like that. We just play our game. With him, you can see it in practice. He shoots to score. He shoots with a purpose. It's just a matter of time for him. Happy he got two goals."
Video: Krejci talks to media after earning 500 career assist
A Piece of History
Bergeron potted the B's first goal of the afternoon with an unassisted tally just 11 seconds into the second period. The marker tied him with Rick Middleton for fourth place on the Bruins' all-time scoring list with 898 career points.
The B's captain appeared to surpass Middleton with a helper on Marchand's first goal later in the middle frame, but an official scoring change announced by the NHL after the game gave the secondary assist to Crag Smith, leaving Bergeron tied for the fourth spot.
Video: PIT@BOS: Bergeron ties game with chip shot
Back on the Shelf
The Bruins announced on Saturday morning that Brandon Carlo is now considered week-to-week with an upper-body injury suffered on Thursday night in just his second game back from nearly a month-long absence with a concussion. Following Saturday's win, Cassidy confirmed that it was "a new injury" and not related to the head.
"He was feeling good. Just got hit in an awkward spot. This is definitely a new injury," said Cassidy. "Upper body, below the neck, if that helps you."
Video: Cassidy talks to media after win over Pittsburgh