Bruins’ David Pastrnak scores hat trick vs. Canadiens, claims lead in race for Rocket Richard Trophy

Slump? What slump?

David Pastrnak ended his recent goal drought in dramatic fashion Wednesday with a hat trick against the visiting Montreal Canadiens.The Boston Bruins star had only scored twice in his previous 10 games heading into the contest, allowing Washington Capitals sniper Alex Ovechkin and Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs to usurp his place atop the NHL’s goal-scoring chart.

It was a rare dry spell for Pastrnak; the 23-year-old forward has tallied at least 34 goals in each of the past four seasons (including 2019-20) and seemed well on his way to capturing his first Rocket Richard Trophy.

After Wednesday, the man known as “Pasta” may be back on track.

Pastrnak’s stellar night began in spectacular fashion, thanks in large part to some quick mitts by Bruins teammate Brad Marchand. After stickhandling his way through two Montreal defenders, Marchand dished the puck to a waiting Pastrnak for a tap-in at 6:59 of the opening frame.

The goal represented a career high for Pastrnak, eclipsing the 38 he scored in the 2018-19 season. 

His second of the game (and 40th of the season) came early in the middle frame on a 2-on-1 rush with Sean Kuraly. The goal put Pastrnak back on equal footing with Ovechkin and Matthews for the league lead. The hat-trick goal that put him back on top came just over 11 minutes later, with Pastrnak slipping a rebound past a sprawling Carey Price on the power play.

The hat trick was the ninth of Pastrnak’s career and his fourth this season.

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