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David Pastrnak Hat Trick Leads Bruins to Game 1 Win over Islanders in NHL Playoffs

AP Photo/Elise Amendola

The Boston Bruins came back from an early 1-0 deficit to win Game 1 of their second-round playoff series against the New York Islanders, 5-2, on Wednesday.

David Pastrnak’s hat trick led the way as the Bruins star picked up his second career three-goal game in the playoffs.

Equally as important is the fact that Boston retains home-ice advantage with the first two games played at TD Garden. The Islanders struck first with forward Anthony Beauvillier netting his fourth goal in New York’s past five games thanks to a deflection on the power play 11:48 into play.

That took all the energy out of TD Garden just after the midway point of the first period .

Goals from Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy helped restore that as the Bruins stormed back to take the series opener.

Boston goalie Tuukka Rask recovered to make 20 saves on 22 shots in the win.

Notable Performers

David Pastrnak, RW, Boston Bruins: 3 Goals, 7 Shots, 16:24 TOI

David Krejci, C, Boston Bruins: 3 Assists, 4 Shots, 2 Blocked Shots

Anthony Beauvillier, LW, New York Islanders: 1 Goal, 4 Hits, -3 Plus/Minus

Ilya Sorokin, G, New York Islanders: 4 Goals Allowed, 35 Saves

Boston Pasta Party

TD Garden opened its doors to 17,000 fans Saturday, marking the largest live audience at an NHL game this season. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy wanted to take in as many of their faces as he could, and Pastrnak happened to provide the perfect opportunity.

As hats flew to the ice from across the arena to celebrate the winger’s third goal of the night, Cassidy couldn’t help but spend a minute or two soaking it all in. Icona Pop’s “I Love It” blared throughout the arena, followed by Kernkraft 400’s  “Zombie Nation” with the building growing louder and louder.

“I was trying to enjoy the moment,” Cassidy told reporters after the win. “Good moment to look around, see a lot of joy.”

He could do that because of Pastrnak’s efforts.

The winger was at his absolute peak Saturday, scoring in just about every way a coach would want to see from a playmaker. Pastrnak’s first came on the power play in the first period, tying the game at 1-1 after New York goalie Ilya Sorokin gave up a massive rebound to the winger in the left faceoff circle. Pastrnak had the presence of mind to take a few extra seconds to wait for the net to open up before depositing the equalizer.

His second goal was an absolute blast off a one-timer from the same exact spot, making him look more like a pitcher switching between a fastball and changeup to fool Sorokin once again.

Finally, with 4:10 remaining in regulation, Pastrnak charged down the ice in transition, waited for a screen and wristed another right past Sorokin’s pads for the dagger.

After a disastrous first few shifts allowed the Islanders to momentarily grab the momentum in Boston, the Bruins came right back and made sure they didn’t waste their home crowd.

Once it became clear that wouldn’t be the case, Cassidy had to enjoy the moment. His team had earned it.

Sorokin Screens Cause Trouble for Isles

The Islanders’ biggest problem Saturday wasn’t keeping up with Boston—though the Bruins did edge New York 40-22 in shots on goal. The Isles actually proved they can skate with the B’s and made the game physical enough that open space proved a rarity.

Instead, it was Sorokin’s ability to track the puck from the crease that caused the most trouble. And it’s one that may have him on a short leash in Game 2.

While the goalie made a number of big-time saves in the loss, his rebound control and ability to find the puck made him a massive liability on the back end, especially with so many Bruins shots hitting the net.

Three of the four goals Sorokin allowed came on screened looks with Boston posting up right in front of the crease. Pastrnak’s one-timer proved the exception—even if it wasn’t much of a consolation.

The problem is clearly twofold for the Isles, and there isn’t much time to clean it up.

First, the Islanders need to do a much better job of keeping Boston from screening Sorokin. Whether that’s moving bodies out of the way or keeping a defenseman further back toward the crease, New York needs to make a concerted effort to ensure its netminder can see the puck better.

Beyond that, Sorokin can’t keep giving up rebounds with so many Boston players camping around the net. That’s going to mean sucking in more shots—though hopefully for the Isles he won’t have to face another onslaught of 40 or more pucks on net in Game 2.

If New York doesn’t prove capable of making things easier for Sorokin, head coach Barry Trotz might not have a choice but to turn to backup Semyon Varlamov to see if he can take any better care of the puck.

What’s Next?

Game 2 between the Islanders and Bruins is set for Monday at TD Garden. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

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