BOSTON - Brad Marchand could not identify any particular signs that point to when a strong performance may be in store for David Pastrnak. To his eye, his fellow first-line winger is always locked in.
"He's such a talented player, he's dangerous on every play," Marchand explained. "Regardless of where he is and where he gets the puck you've got to make sure you do your job on him, because if not he'll find himself in a scoring position."
On Monday afternoon, Pastrnak found himself in scoring position quite frequently. And he made sure to make the Anaheim Ducks pay. The 23-year-old had a day for the record books as he secured his first career four-goal game - and the 25th in franchise history - to pace the Bruins to a 4-2 victory at TD Garden.
"I mean, it's always nice [to score]. That's what I'm getting paid for," said Pastrnak, who arrived at the rink donning a brimmed black hat and salmon-colored suit, fresh after what he described as a simple breakfast of eggs and pancakes.
"I felt good after breakfast. Afternoon games are fun. I like to just wake up and go play. No time for thinking. No time to overthink stuff. You just wake up, go out there and play."
Video: ANA@BOS: Pastrnak scores four goals against Ducks
Pastrnak certainly did that, as his four-goal output - which matched a Bruins record for goals in a game - extended his point streak to four games and gave him six goals on the season, ranking him second in the National Hockey League behind Edmonton's James Neal (seven).
"I'm just trying to be a better player than last year, that's my biggest focus every year, coming into the season," said Pastrnak, who also registered his sixth career hat trick (five regular season, one playoffs). "Obviously, I want to be a little bit better than the year before and that's what I'm working on."
So far, so good. The winger is pacing the Bruins with 10 points and six goals through six games, putting him well on his way to surpassing last season's career highs (38 goals and 81 points in 66 games).
"He's been real good for us," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "We've needed it. We're not getting the balanced scoring yet, but right now he's on. We're happy he is. Got some nice looks too, but he's going to the spots he needs to, to score those goals. Their chemistry is on now - it was off a little bit earlier, they didn't play a lot [in preseason]…now they're fine."
That they are. Through six games, Boston's dynamic triumvirate of Pastrnak, Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron has combined for 24 points and 11 of the team's 16 goals. The trio has picked up right where they left off a season ago, providing crucial production as the B's attempt to wring more out of their secondary scoring.
"It is definitely nice to have that production," said Bergeron, who was the last Bruin to score four goals in a game, doing so on Jan. 6, 2018 against Carolina. "You want to keep working on things and you know that teams are watching videos and working on ways to counter stuff that we are doing, so we are always trying to stay on top of that. It definitely gives us confidence. The mental game is a huge part of hockey."
Video: Pastrnak speaks after scoring 4 goals against Ducks
Right now, there is no reason for them not to be confident. Their chemistry and camaraderie has been on full display through the season's first 10 days, perhaps no more so than on Monday afternoon.
On Pastrnak's first goal, it was Bergeron who delivered a nifty backhanded feed to the winger, who ripped a one-timer from the left circle by Anaheim goalie John Gibson on the power play to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead just 4:18 into the contest.
"Great play by Bergy, it's so hard for the goalie to get there," said Pastrnak. "My No. 1 focus is to hit the net because we've got two other guys - we've got one of the best bumpers in the league [Bergeron], and then we've got [Jake DeBrusk] in front, so for me it's to hit the net and if it doesn't go in, then it can bounce to these two guys and recover the rebound."
Pastrnak doubled the Bruins lead midway through the second when he finished off a 2-on-1 break with Marchand, who had stolen the puck away from Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm with a strong forecheck. Marchand then whipped a pass across the slot and Pastrnak quickly whacked it home to put Boston up 2-0 with 8:22 remaining in the middle frame.
"I don't take it for granted, I definitely appreciate it," Bergeron said of Pastrnak getting to the right spots. "It's pretty special. He's got that talent and the instinct. He wants to be a difference maker and he gets to the dirty areas. It's not always easy to get to the net and he does and he finds a way. It's pretty impressive."
Video: Bergeron speaks to media after 4-2 win over Anaheim
The Czech native was certainly in the right spot on his third of the night. After an icing by the Ducks, the Bruins - thanks to a new NHL rule this season - were able to switch the ensuing faceoff to the left circle. Bergeron was beaten on the draw by Sam Steel, who won the puck backward. But the puck deflected off the skate of Ducks defenseman Josh Manson and right to Pastrnak in the slot where the winger instantly snapped a wrister by Gibson to make it 3-1 at 2:20 of the third.
Pastrnak capped his four-goal afternoon just 2:14 later when he parked himself at the top of the crease on the power play and - with Lindholm draped over his back - was able to redirect Marchand's feed by Gibson to extend the Bruins lead to 4-1.
"He does a great job with [getting to the right spots], that's why he scores so many goals," said Marchand. "He knows where to go to get the puck and he goes to the dirty areas. His fourth goal was in front of the net with a guy all over him. He can score so many different ways which is what really makes him dangerous."