RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — David Pastrnak’s milestone performance with the Boston Bruins came with additional responsibility.
Minus a couple of key players, Pastrnak moved to the forefront and eclipsed the 50-goal mark by scoring twice and the Bruins won their seventh game in a row by defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in a shootout Sunday.
Forwards Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand didn’t make the trip with the NHL-leading Bruins, so Pastrnak boosted his contributions.
“I’ve been learning from those guys,” Pastrnak said. “You recognize when they’re not here that you have to take a step forward.”
Pastrnak posted the 12th 50-goal season in Bruins history.
“With Bergeron and Marchand back at home, you can see his leadership skills really come out,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. “I think he put the team on his back and played the right way.”
Charlie Coyle and Jake DeBrusk scored in the shootout in a matchup of Eastern Conference division leaders.
Jakub Lauko also scored for the Bruins, who earned their 57th victory and are five wins shy of matching the all-time NHL record with nine regular-season games to play. Charlie McAvoy had two assists and Jeremy Swayman made 34 saves.
“We’ve had a lot of character wins in a lot of different fashions,” Montgomery said.
Boston tied the franchise record for wins in a season. That’s special in Montgomery’s opinion.
“Especially when you think about all the great Bruins teams,” he said.
Jack Drury, Brady Skjei and Sebastian Aho scored for the Hurricanes, who won three of their previous four games. Brett Pesce had two assists and Frederik Andersen stopped 35 shots.
Carolina wiped out a two-goal deficit to secure a team point.
“It wasn’t our best game, but I thought the third period we certainly came on,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “It’s one of those games where you say it’s probably a good point to get considering how it was looking.”
Pastrnak’s 50th goal of the season came 4:43 into the game. He received a pass from McAvoy and skated half the length of the ice on a breakaway, though lost full control of the puck and still beat Andersen.
Pastrnak was on track for 50 goals in March 2020, but he ended up with 48 when the COVID-19 pandemic caused an early end to the regular season.
“You never know what can happen,” Pastrnak said.
Drury, set up in the slot, scored his second goal of the season off a pass from Jalen Chatfield at 7:44 of the second.
Just 1:28 later, Pastrnak’s second goal came on a power play when he blasted a shot from the left side just inside the post. Lauko’s fourth goal extended the lead at 11:46 of the second.
Carolina pulled even at 3-3 when Skjei and Aho scored in the first four minutes of the third period.
“We knew that was coming,” Montgomery said. “There’s no need to panic. We knew they were going to come with a push.”
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Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm was scratched along with Bergeron and Marchand with what Montgomery referred to as nagging injuries. The trio has accounted for 57 goals this season.
“It shows the depth that we have,” Swayman said. “I think all of us thrive on the energy in a building like this.”
Carolina’s only significant lineup adjustment came with center Paul Stastny in the lineup in place of Jesse Puljuharvi, who had played in eight straight games since making his debut with the Hurricanes. Puljuharvi arrived in a trade from Edmonton in late February.
NOTES: The Bruins won two of three meetings with the Hurricanes, securing the first victory in overtime. Carolina eliminated Boston in last spring’s playoffs in seven games. … The Hurricanes maintained their string of securing a point in all seven games across different seasons while wearing green Hartford Whalers-inspired jerseys. The franchise began as the Whalers before relocation in 1997.
Bruins: Host Nashville on Tuesday.
Hurricanes: Host Tampa Bay on Tuesday. —