The Boston Bruins have made it through the first round of the playoffs and now they face a very tough challenge. The Columbus Blue Jackets, just as they have shown in two games in Boston, won’t go away easily. The Bruins would certainly like to make them go down easily, but they haven’t been able to accomplish that so far.
One-for-eight on the power play, making a ton of turnovers, not converting their top chances. Those have been the major issues so far for the Bruins. One player, who would the Bruins expect to be better in each department, is David Pastrnak.
Pastrnak averages 19:44 minutes of the ice time per game in the playoffs, while collecting three goals and four assists in nine games. He scored a goal in Game 2 as well. His overall play so far has been rather poor. In the overtime, which the Bruins played in both of their opening games against Columbus, sometimes it was better to keep Pastrnak off the ice.
Many fans could recognize that there is something wrong with the Bruins main star. Last year, Pastrnak had 20 points in 12 games in the playoffs. This year, it has been a different kind of story. One of the reasons why he isn’t as productive as before is that his overall play has worsened. When he stops to make those simple plays, it leaves evidence on pretty much every number tied to Pastrnak.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy sees that as well. He would have liked his top winger to be deadly again. Especially when the Bruins had so many chances, shots and power play in the first two games against the Blue Jackets. His coach has some bits of advice for him.
“He’s just got to park a little bit of it,” Cassidy said. “Come to the rink and ask, ‘What can I contribute if the puck’s not going in?’” “I think he’s in between right now,” Cassidy said. “Get his wall work down. Straight lines in the (defensive) zone. Good stick to help out when he’s supposed to. They’ve got two active defensemen out there. Hopefully, the power-play stuff comes. The puck will find him in the sweet spot, and off he goes. If not, just make your decision quicker,” said Bruce Cassidy after Game 2 loss.
Making your decisions quicker, play with more urgency, make simple plays and don’t force it.
“I think he’s hard on himself as well,” Cassidy said. That can be applicable to the majority of the Bruins when playing with the man-advantage or when they try to find the seems where the Blue Jackets close them.
For David Pastrnak, he is a tremendous talent. He has to stay resilient because the Bruins need him. But many times, when he is not getting through, he is attempting it over and over again with the same negative result. The Blue Jackets seemingly got Artemi Panarin awake. The Bruins have to awake their own deadly weapon.