BOSTON -- As soon as he put on his suit -- an uncharacteristically understated pink with a black fedora -- David Pastrnak said he knew. Not, perhaps, that he would score four goals against the Anaheim Ducks, just that it would be a good day.
"Afternoon games are fun," Pastrnak said. "I like it. Just wake up, go play, no time for thinking. No time to overthink stuff. You just wake up, go out there and play."
Which he did.
[WATCH: All Ducks vs. Bruins highlights]
Pastrnak, the best pure scorer on arguably the best line in hockey, scored an NHL career-high four goals on Ducks goaltender John Gibson for the Boston Bruins in a 4-2 matinee win on Monday, becoming the third player in the NHL to do so this season. Anthony Mantha of the Detroit Red Wings (Oct. 6) and James Neal of the Edmonton Oilers (Oct. 8) are the others to score four goals in a game this season, something that was accomplished just four times in 2018-2019.
"It's obviously nice," Pastrnak said. "That's what I'm getting paid for. Good for confidence to get some goals."
Video: ANA@BOS: Pastrnak scores four goals against Ducks
It started with a one-timer from the left face-off dot off a backhand feed from Patrice Bergeron on the power play to open the scoring at 4:18 of the first period. The next came in the second period, arguably the Bruins' worst period of the young season, when Pastrnak was the beneficiary of a pass on a 2-on-1 from Brad Marchand after he intercepted a pass by Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm in the offensive zone at 11:38.
After Rickard Rakell cut the lead to 2-1, Pastrnak completed his fifth NHL hat trick at 2:20 of the third period, shooting five-hole on Gibson after the puck kicked to him off the skate of Ducks defenseman Josh Manson following a face-off in the left circle.
He finished it off with his fourth goal of the day -- and sixth of the season -- 2:14 later with a tip-in at the right post on the power play to make it 4-1.
"He's always got it," Marchand said. "He's such a talented player. He's dangerous on every single play, regardless of where he is or 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 scoring position."
Pastrnak has become adept at finding just the right spots on the ice, the places where he can maneuver an opening, where his teammates can find him. He is fortunate to play with skilled players like Marchand and Bergeron, but it also becomes clearer every day that he is no third-wheel on that line.
"That's why he scores so many goals," Marchand said. "He knows where to go to get the puck and he goes to the dirty areas. You saw on his fourth goal in front of the net, guy all over him. He can score so many different ways, which is really what makes him dangerous."
Video: Pastrnak scores four as Bruins take down Ducks, 4-2
And what makes that line dangerous.
But despite their dominance in the early part of the season, there is both good news and bad news for the Bruins. The good is their top line continues to be their best line, combining for 24 points (Pastrnak has 10; Marchand has nine; Bergeron has five) through the first six games. The bad is that their next highest scorer is defenseman Torey Krug, who has four points, and no forward other than Sean Kuraly (two) has more than one point.
Still, they'll take what Pastrnak is giving them.
"He's been real good for us," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "We've needed it. We're not getting the balanced scoring yet."
At the end of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, a run that had not been entirely kind to Pastrnak, he was disappointed in himself. His performance hadn't lived up to a regular season in which he scored an NHL career-high 38 goals and 81 points, and the Bruins finished one win short of winning the Stanley Cup.
"For me, the new year started as soon as the season -- just trying to be a better player than last year," Pastrnak said. "That's my biggest focus every year coming into the season is just obviously want to be a little bit better than the year before. That's what I'm working on."
So far, he's succeeding. Only Neal (eight) has scored more goals in 2019-20 than Pastrnak, who is tied for second with Mantha and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews.
"It's pretty special," Bergeron said. "He's got that talent and that instinct, but also he wants to be a difference-maker and he gets to the -- I guess you'd call it the dirty areas. It's not easy to get to the net all the time and he does and finds a way. It's pretty impressive."