ST. LOUIS - Things went just about as well as they could have for David Pastrnak on Saturday night. The 23-year-old potted four goals and picked up six points across two games during the 2020 NHL All-Star 3-on-3 competition.
Though there was one very important thing missing.
"We had a good start. It was fun. Unfortunately, we came on the losing end, obviously wanted to win," Pastrnak said following the Atlantic Division's 5-4 loss to the Pacific in the All-Star Game Final at Enterprise Center. "Congratulations to the opponent. Definitely a little bit painful."
In the end, however, Pastrnak's second All-Star Weekend was anything but.
Sure, the Czech native missed out on an All-Star Game title - and a piece of the $1 million prize - but he left St. Louis with plenty to be proud of, as his stellar performance earned him the weekend's MVP honors.
"I would expect the winner should win MVP," said Pastrnak, who captained the Atlantic. "But if I was voted in by the fans, I appreciate the love. Probably wasn't any fans from St. Louis' building, but whoever voted, appreciate the love."
Video: Pasta reacts to MVP win at 2020 All-Star Game
Pastrnak secured the title with 36% of the vote, beating out Calgary's Matthew Tkachuk, Edmonton's Leon Draisaitl, and Ottawa's Anthony Duclair. The NHL's leading goal scorer - he has 37 through 51 games - became just the fourth Bruin in history to win All-Star Game MVP, joining Bobby Orr (1972), Ray Bourque (1996), and Bill Guerin (2001).
"It's a huge honor, especially in an organization like the Bruins," said Pastrnak. "Ray actually already texted me...it's unbelievable."
Bruins bench boss Bruce Cassidy, who served as the Atlantic Division's head coach, was hardly surprised at the display his No. 1 right winger put forth during the NHL's signature talent showcase.
"He's our MVP a lot of nights too," Cassidy said of his team's leading scorer (37-33-70 on 51 games). "I'm used to seeing him go to work. I'm happy for him…good for him. I'm sure he had a great time. Got to play with some great players, scored a few goals. Too bad we came up a little short."
Pastrnak picked up two points - a goal and an assist - in the title game, highlighted by a filthy backhanded tally off a lengthy pass from Florida's Jonathan Huberdeau that put the Atlantic up, 3-1, late in the first period.
The marker was, perhaps, the shining moment of his four-goal night, which included a hat trick in the opening game, a 9-5 victory over the Metropolitan Division.
"I tried to dangle a couple times in Game 1 on Seth Jones," said Pastrnak. "But I think his skates are size 14, so it never went through. It's fun, you try some skills and sometimes there's stuff you won't try in a real game. It's a lot of fun. It's been a blast here."
Video: Pastrnak wins MVP award at 2020 NHL All-Star Game
Pastrnak, who played with Buffalo's Jack Eichel and Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman, noted that the intensity of the typically lighthearted affair ratcheted up during the second half of the title game, which was tied until San Jose's Tomas Hertl scored his fifth of the night with just under three minutes to play.
"We kind of expected a little battle between the Tkachuks," said Pastrnak, noting the rivalry between brothers and St. Louis natives Matthew (Pacific) and Brady (Atlantic). "But overall, the second half they turned it on…it's good for the All-Star Game.
"We are all having fun. But when it comes to the end, we are all hockey players and it's in our nature that we want to win. Even when you're playing and having fun you still want to win. That's why the tempo got a little bit high at the end."
For Cassidy, that intensity was on display from the beginning, particularly from his captain.
"The first shift of the first game against Metro, [Pastrnak] backchecked all the way to the goal line in his own end," Cassidy said with a smile. "I was like, 'Where was this all year?' Just have to put the C on him. Good luck getting it from [Zdeno Chara].
"No, he was good. He was chatting with the guys, he enjoyed them all. They're all good guys. Just from the presence on the bench, you can tell who's been a captain and maybe Pasta picked up on it."
Perhaps, Pastrnak's leadership skills will continue to evolve when the Bruins resume play next Friday in Winnipeg. But for now, he's ready for a much-deserved reprieve.
"It was a fun [weekend]," said Pastrnak. "But excited to get back with our boys. Got a couple days to rest up and get ready for the second half of the season."
Video: Pasta talks following MVP All-Star game