Associated Press’ DOUG ALDEN
Originally published at 10:19 p.m. CDT on May 29, 2021, and updated at 11:32 p.m. CDT on May 29, 2021. CDT (Continuous Dial Time)
The Boston Bruins and David Pastrnak were unaffected by a six-day gap between games.
On Saturday night, Pastrnak scored his second career postseason hat trick, and the Bruins defeated the New York Islanders 5-2 to begin the second round of the playoffs.
“I believe our team performed admirably. Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said, “They’re a veteran-enough squad to understand what’s at stake.” “We anticipated that some of the battles, jostling, and getting bumped below the goal lines, both offensively and defensively, would take some getting used to again.”
As the Boston-New York rivalry returned to the postseason, there was lots of jostling, pushing, and some all-out hitting. It was exceptionally spectacular in Boston on Saturday, when Massachusetts abolished COVID-19 restrictions and capacity limits, allowing supporters to throng the TD Garden once again, just as they used to.
The Bruins drank up the excitement and kept the tempo throughout all three periods, outshooting the Islanders 40-22 and grabbing a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Pastrnak admitted, “That was definitely a little fun.” “It’s fantastic to have the fans back. The atmosphere was already palpable.
The Bruins also got goals from Charlie McAvoy and Taylor Hall, while David Krejci had three assists. The Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron had a pair of assists and will host Game 2 on Monday night.
Tuukka Rask made 20 stops as the Bruins dominated the Islanders on the opposite end of the rink, outshooting them 40-22.
After Adam Pelech’s goal for the Islanders knotted the game at 2 at 12:34 in the second period, Rask didn’t let anything get by him. The Islanders only had four shots in the period, and they were playing in front of a boisterous crowd at TD Garden for the first time in almost a year.
“The excitement and environment were everything what we had hoped for and more. It’s an understatement to say we’ve missed them,” Bergeron added. “I think it makes you appreciate it even more when the fans are taken away from the game for a while and you have to play without them.”
The Islanders’ Anthony Beauvillier also scored, Jordan Eberle had two helpers, and Ilya Sorokin made 35 stops to keep New York in the game for the first 40 minutes despite the Bruins’ barrage of shots.
New York coach Barry Trotz stated, “We’ve got to challenge them a little bit harder.” “We took a step back. They’re going to use you to create plays.”
The shot disparity, according to Trotz, may have been a little deceiving. After two periods, the score was still knotted at two, thanks in major part to Sorokin.
In the first period, the rookie goaltender stopped Pastrnak twice on one-timers from close range, but he couldn’t stop the Bruins’ sharpshooter from getting his second career playoff hat trick.
Pastrnak earned his third hat trick of the postseason on Saturday after gliding through the Islanders zone and blasting a wrist shot past Sorokin at 14:10 of the third period.
Hats began flying from all levels of the arena, which became so loud that it began to shake during the few minutes it took to clear the ice as ecstatic Boston fans celebrated their return to the building and another Bruins triumph.
“It was incredible. Pastrnak stated, “Obviously, it was good to see headgear.”
Pastrnak’s goal, as well as Hall’s empty-netter in the final minute, elicited multiple anti-New York shouts and multiple rounds of “We Want The Cup!”
NOTES: Beauvillier has a point run of five games after scoring a goal in three straight playoff games. Boston Red Sox F Craig Smith left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury and did not return to the bench. Smith would be assessed on Sunday, according to Cassidy. … D for the Bruins After getting levelled in the corner by Leo Komarov in the second period, Matt Grzelcyk staggered to the bench. Grzelcyk took his time getting up and skated away during the next line change, but he soon returned.