PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Boston Bruins have been playing hockey for nearly a century.
Never, indeed, and the like.
David Pastrnak scored his 14th career hat trick on a blast by Tristan Jarry with 2:26 left to lift the Bruins to a 4-3 win over the Penguins at Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Boston improved to 59-12-5 with the win and is now within three games of the NHL’s all-time single-season mark of 62 wins set by Detroit in 1996 by Tampa Bay in 1996. Boston has six games remaining.
The Bruins, who entered the NHL in 1924, also set the franchise record for most points in a season, surpassing the 121 points produced by the 1970-71 team.
“It’s a great achievement, but it’s hard to embrace it right in the moment, I guess maybe, to enjoy it,” said first-year Boston quarterback Jim Montgomery. “I think at the end of the season, we will be able to sit back. What we are doing is historic. He is lucky to coach these guys.”
Especially when Pastrnak is warming up.
The veteran also has 10 goals in the last eight games and 56 on the season, the fifth-highest single-season total in franchise history. His first game goal deflection from the front gave him 100 points for the first time in his nine-year career.
“I’ve often said, probably get 100 (points) on 50 goals,” Pastrnak said.
This year, Pastrnak didn’t have to choose.
The Bruins won for the ninth time in 10 games even with head coach Patrice Bergeron getting the day off by turning away all six of Pittsburgh’s power plays — 45 seconds into the second period with a two-man advantage — and answering each time the Penguins pulled even. .
“We’ve been trying all year to find ways to win games,” said defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who scored his seventh goal of the season in the first period. “I feel like our leadership and our overall composition has been good for us. Never too high, never too low.”
Bryan Rust scored twice for Pittsburgh, his first multigoal game since Feb. 1. In 2022, he scored against Washington. Jake Guentzel’s 35th of the season tied the game with 7:30 left in regulation. Jarry stopped 31 shots but couldn’t handle Pastrnak’s one-timer from the slot in the final minutes.
“We got better as the game went on,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “I think we took our chances as a lead and special teams is obviously a big part of today. But if you want to play one gets, it’s important in the game. There are good teams and a thin line.”
However, when he had certain players on home ice, Montgomery gave Bergeron a chance to stay to address Montgomery’s nagging injuries.
Not a thing. The engine rolled as Boston jumped on Pittsburgh’s mistakes.
The Bruins went 2-for-3 on the power play while the Penguins struggled to generate a lot of possessions even with their man advantage. Boston’s Jeremy Swayman finished with 21 straight fifth starts to win.
“We’re going to have to find a way over it,” Sullivan said. “It’s a tough way to lose tonight. It’s a tough way to lose. And those stingers mean a lot when they play, like they do this time of year.
Pittsburgh missed by one goal three times, the last on Guentzel’s shot from the slot with 7:30 to play.
But the chance to earn at least a point in the standings by pushing the game to overtime vanished as Pastrnak’s second hat trick of the season tied him with Cam Neely for second on the franchise’s all-time hat trick list behind only Phil Esposito’s 26.
“Big players in this league, they want to be in big moments,” Montgomery said of Pastrnak. “He wants to go out there, he wants to be on his staff with the puck.”
Bruins: Visit St. Louis on Sunday.
Penguins: Hello cross state rival Philadelphia on Sunday night.
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