David Pastrnak is a critical menace to Alex Ovechkin’s Rocket Richard run
Whereas Ovechkin has gained the trophy 5 of the previous six seasons, a brand new challenger has arisen. And Pastrnak is not simply near ‘Ovie,’ he is truly forward proper now. This is how the younger Czech has gotten essentially the most out of his NHL expertise up to now.David Pastrnak|Claus Andersen/Getty ImagesIt’s gotta be at the very least slightly bit intimidating to be in a goal-scoring race with one in every of, if not the, biggest of all-time, however Boston’s David Pastrnak is giving Washington’s Alex Ovechkin all he can deal with in that division.
Ovechkin has dazzled the hockey world together with his net-pumping proficiency this season, registering three hat methods in his previous eight appearances and discovering himself on the cusp of 700 profession targets; an unmistakably unbelievable feat.
Having mentioned that, Pastrnak at present leads the NHL with 41 targets, thanks partly to the hat trick he simply laid on prime of a dying Montreal Canadiens group on Wednesday evening. And whereas Toronto’s Auston Matthews is tied with Ovechkin for second with 40 targets, let’s simply take a minute to understand how unbelievable Pastrnak has been this season for the Bruins.
With 81 factors, the younger Czech is 10 factors away from linemate Brad Marchand for the group scoring lead. Much more unbelievable is the very fact Pastrnak has twice as many factors as David Krejci, who sits fourth in Bruins scoring. So it’s no shock that Pastrnak is in a dogfight for NHL scoring supremacy.
However ask Pastrnak how he stacks up and he’ll demur.
“I’m not racing anyone, I’m simply enjoying hockey,” he mentioned. “I’m making an attempt to assist my group win and I don’t care in regards to the consequence of my targets or factors. It’s enjoyable to attain; that’s what I’m getting paid for and that’s my largest power – being an offensive participant. However I’m not specializing in any scoring race.”
Whereas that’s a great, humble, hockey reply, a few of us want narratives to construct round and Pastrnak’s large season is a fairly good one. Not solely has the gifted proper winger tied his career-best for factors in a season, however he’s nonetheless bought 24 extra video games so as to add to a brand new excessive. And since Boston is warding off a hard-charging Tampa Bay for first place within the Atlantic Division, there’s no motive for Pastrnak to take his foot off the fuel down the stretch – the Bruins want each level they’ll get with the intention to safe house ice via the primary two rounds of the playoffs. Heck, doing so would additionally win them the Presidents’ Trophy in all chance (they’re 5 factors up on the next-closest division chief, although Washington does have two video games in hand), so simply name it house ice all through.
So sure; extra targets from Pastrnak would assist. And if the 23-year-old hits one other milestone alongside the way in which, all the higher.
“If he’s scoring, he’s serving to the group,” mentioned Boston coach Bruce Cassidy. “I’d wish to see him get 50. It’s a great quantity, a great accomplishment.”
As for a way Pastrnak bought so far, it’s not simply pure talent; although he has that in abundance. As a child within the Czech Republic, Pastrnak’s ice time was restricted – that was simply the fact again house. However within the NHL, he can skate and practise principally as a lot as he needs.
“After observe you may keep so long as you need, earlier than observe you may go as early as you need,” Pastrnak mentioned. “It’s wonderful. Rising up as a child in Czech, you’d have ice from 11am to 12pm. You needed to be there precisely at 11 and get off proper at 12. So that is enjoyable – taking pictures pucks and scoring targets is enjoyable.”
Nobody goes to debate him on that time. Now, the controversy over whether or not Pastrnak can snatch the Rocket Richard Trophy from eight-time winner Ovechkin, or fend off Matthews, whom Toronto must be enormous down the stretch? That’s additionally enjoyable…for all of us watching.
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Tags: boston bruins, washington capitals, nhlConnect: Concerning the AuthorRyan KennedyRyan Kennedy is the affiliate senior author and draft/prospect professional at The Hockey Information. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all known as his home. He lives in Toronto together with his spouse and youngsters the place he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.