David Pastrnak continued his torrid return from injury with a hat trick and two assists, and the Boston Bruins won their 12th straight at home, 6-3 over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night.
Pastrnak failed to record a point March 19 in his first contest back after missing 16 with a thumb injury, but he has five goals and six assists in four since.
On Wednesday, he set career highs with his 36th goal and five points in a regular-season game while helping the playoff-bound Bruins extend their longest home winning streak since a 14-game run in 2008-09.
Boston also avoided being swept in the three-game season series by the Rangers, who will miss the playoffs for a second straight campaign and are 2-8-5 since Feb. 24.
The Bruins didn’t waste time, as Pastrnak drove home a pinpoint, cross-slot saucer pass from Brad Marchand on the power play just 2:48 into the game. Marchand (three assists) and Patrice Bergeron, who also recorded an assist on that goal, both extended their home point streaks to 17 games.
The Rangers equalized with 3:31 left in the first. Mika Zibanejad put a nifty move on Boston goalie Jaroslav Halak (20 saves), off a lead pass from Ryan Strome, to score his own power-play goal. Zibanejad added his 30th goal of the season in the game’s final seconds.
Pastrnak broke the tie 9:15 into the second period off a pretty cross-slot, backhanded pass from David Krejci (two assists) on a shot that New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist (26 saves) had little chance of stopping. Pastrnak then passed up a shot to set up Jake DeBrusk for his 24th at 3:19 into the third period.
New York pulled one back with 14:17 left in regulation when Strome’s persistence in front of the net was rewarded.
Pastrnak, however, sealed the deal with 7:08 remaining on another power-play conversion for his third hat trick of the season. Bergeron deflected in a Pastrnak shot on a five-on-three advantage, and Charlie McAvoy scored Boston’s fourth power-play goal of the night late in the contest.