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Pastrnak plays for Bruins in exhibition game

Forward scores after missing most of training camp

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / Staff Writer

David Pastrnak scored for the Boston Bruins in an exhibition game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

"I knew coming into the game I'm not going to feel great, but at the end it wasn't that bad," Pastrnak said after the 4-1 loss. "To be honest, I'd rather play and get the time, get the game mode, the earlier, the better. I'm really happy I played."

Pastrnak practiced Wednesday, his third straight day on the ice since the Bruins arrived in Toronto, the Eastern Conference hub city, on Monday. He hadn't taken part in a full-team practice during training camp, which opened in Massachusetts on July 13. He skated with a small group of teammates July 15.

Pastrnak scored at 12:16 of the second period, faking Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins before slipping the puck through his legs.

Goalie Tuukka Rask started and played about half the game, with Jaroslav Halak playing the second half. Forward Nick Ritchie took part in an optional skate Thursday but did not play. Ritchie did not practice Wednesday. Forward Ondrej Kase is still not with the Bruins.

The Bruins begin the Eastern round-robin portion of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVAS), followed by games against the Tampa Bay Lightning (Aug. 5) and Washington Capitals (Aug. 9) that will determine seeding for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The games will be played at Scotiabank Arena.

Pastrnak impressed linemates Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron with his energy and play the past few days.

"We have some catching up to do, I guess, to catch up to him," Bergeron said. "He's looking great. Like 'Pasta,' pretty much. Out there he looked like he didn't miss a beat."

Marchand said, "Yeah it was a little frustrating watching him come back and realizing just how far behind him we are. So it's been a lot of fun having him back, just his energy that he brings to the table every day. It's been a lot of fun."

Pastrnak, who scored 48 goals to tie Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin for the NHL lead, hadn't played since March 10, two days before the NHL season was paused due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. He completed a 14-day quarantine after arriving to Boston from the Czech Republic, which caused him to miss the first two days of training camp. He had to complete a second quarantine after he skated with a group of local players at a rink in the Boston area.

"First of all, I was never sick, so I don't think I've done anything wrong," Pastrnak said. "Obviously, it was a tough bounce there and unfortunately what happened, happened, and I had to miss some time. Obviously, the protocol is to stay in quarantine, so unfortunately, I had to be locked down at home for a while. It's nothing I can control. Obviously, I take full responsibility for my actions.

"To be honest, it's been really tough. Twenty-eight days in quarantine. Toughest part about it is that I was healthy the whole quarantine, but at the same time I still couldn't do anything. It was really tough and frustrating at the same time. It was a really long month. I'm really happy that thing is over and I'm finally back with the guys. I've missed them. They are the reason why I came back to America from Europe."

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