Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

    Why poor memory might be one of David Pastrnak’s most underrated skills


    “He’s hard on himself. He expects great things from himself.”

    David Pastrnak has contributed to 42.9 percent of Boston’s goals this season. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    David Pastrnak was happy to be home Monday.

    Even though the 27-year-old winger lit the lamp and added three helpers during Boston’s recent four-game road trip, it was far from a flawless performance by the Bruins’ star forward.

    In Boston’s 4-3 loss to the Avalanche on January 8, Pastrnak received some criticism on the airwaves for his shootout attempt against Colorado goaltender Alexandar Georgiev.

    Despite Pastrnak’s ability to beat goaltenders through a series of gravity-defying dekes and hangs, he opted for a rather vulgar shot that bounced off Georgiev’s pads en route to the loss.

    During a 4-3 overtime loss against Arizona the next night, Pastrnak failed to convert a pair of breakaways that could have given Boston two points. Instead, Boston lost Linus Ullmark to injury and the game itself just a few minutes later.

    And on Thursday, Boston lost a 2-1 OT loss to the Golden Knights, with a miscommunication between Pastrnak and Brad Marchand giving way to a 2-on-1 gamble by Vegas that ended with Alex Pietrangelo’s tip-in for two points. . in the classification of the current Stanley Cup champions.

    No player should be immune from criticism, not even one as talented as Pastrnak. And while the 26-8-9 Bruins would be in poor shape without Pastrnak (26 goals, 35 assists) igniting their offense, the perennial Hart Trophy candidate didn’t shy away from the idea that his lofty standards fell over the past week.

    But that doesn’t mean I’m thinking about it.

    “The season is long and this is going to happen,” Pastrnak said Monday of Boston’s recent trip. “And with the experience I had and the great teachers… great guys, to learn from, mentors, throughout my career, you have to look for some reasons.

    “It’s good to come home, play in front of your friends and spend time with family. So as a professional athlete, you look for those little things, these little details, and it was a good reset for me to come home.”

    It didn’t take long for Pastrnak to reassert himself on Causeway Street. He scored his 26th goal of the year in Boston’s 3-0 victory over the Devils on Monday afternoon, beating Nico Daws with a spectacular power-play goal.

    He added a secondary helper on Charlie Coyle’s first goal on a slick transition play, marking the 21st time this season he has recorded two or more points in a single game.

    Pastrnak’s loaded arsenal of outside zone moves allows him to bury a mediocre performance or two in short order, with a defensive error often mitigated by a two-count game.

    But for Jim Montgomery, it’s Pastrnak’s short memory and confidence that allows him to not focus on mistakes in a game riddled with mistakes.

    “When you’re used to scoring and doing as much as him, [there’s] “Two games where maybe, whether he’s out or the puck’s not going in the net because he’s missing opportunities, he’s hard on himself,” Montgomery said of Pastrnak on Monday. “He expects great things from himself. …When we were in St. Louis. I went to talk to him at the morning skate.

    “He has done this to me several times. He interrupts me, doesn’t let me speak. And he says, ‘I’m going to be fine tonight.’ Don’t worry about that.’ And his effort in St. Louis (two assists, 20:46 TOI) was really good. And then you combine talent and effort? Production comes in and that’s what happened tonight.”

    Even with some lapses in overtime over the last week, Pastrnak has more than made up for any shortcomings in his overall game this season.

    Without two franchise pillars, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, to help him this season, Pastrnak is still on pace to score a career-high 50 goals and 116 points this season. He has contributed to 42.9 percent of Boston’s 142 goals during the 2023-24 campaign.

    Pastrnak has improved his game this season as a playmaker, especially given the talent drain that plagued Boston this offseason. But so far, it’s hard to argue with the results.

    “You always change,” Pastrnak said. “That’s normal in a team sport. It’s the business. Teams change, players change, players come and go. Obviously it’s a little different when you have two players who have been here for decades and they leave.

    “So you definitely have to change and adapt. But I think the entire coaching staff and players in this room, coming from the leaders, are doing a great job stepping up. I love what I see”.


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