BOSTON (AP) — David Pastrnak had already found his scoring touch this season. It was his overtime winner that had his teammates in awe.
Pastrnak scored his second goal of the game 1:23 into the extra period, and the Boston Bruins continued their recent success against the Florida Panthers with a 4-3 victory Monday night.
“The goal was just the skill of David showing what he can do,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said.
Pastrnak got his team-leading 15th goal by cutting in from the left wing, shifting around goalie Roberto Luongo and tucking in the game-winner.
“He’s very creative” Boston goalie Tuukka Rask said of his teammate. “He’s been a talent for many, many years and now he’s finally taking the last step and kind of making a real name for himself in the league.”
David Backes and Tim Schaller also scored for the Bruins, who are 15-2-1 in their last 18 games against the Panthers. Rask stopped 27 shots to raise his record to 14-4-1 this season and 17-3-1 in his career against Florida.
Jaromir Jagr had a goal for the Panthers, the 754th of his career, and Luongo finished with 32 saves.
“I said we’ve got to pull together and I thought the guys did that in the third,” Florida general manager/interim coach Tom Rowe said. “That third period is what we are capable of.”
Florida’s Jason Demers slipped a shot under Rask, tying it with 1:29 to play, after the Bruins had moved ahead when Backes tipped in Ryan Spooner’s shot for the go-ahead goal with 6:52 remaining.
“Gutsy effort there in a tough building,” Luongo said.
Aleksander Barkov also scored for the Panthers.
Boston improved to 4-0-1 in its last five games, sending the Panthers to their fourth loss in five on a six-game road trip, their longest of the season.
Backes, at the top of the crease, redirected Spooner’s wrister from the top of the left circle after Barkov had tied it with 12:06 to play.
Pastrnak’s first goal snapped a 1-all tie late in the second period. Brad Marchand hustled for a loose puck behind the net and fed it out front to Pastrnak, who snapped in a quick shot from just outside the crease.
“He’s coming into his own,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “There’s no doubt about that. Confidence-wise it’s probably at its highest, and rightfully so.”
Barkov tied it again by firing a rising wrister past Rask’s glove.
The Bruins had moved ahead 1-0 on Schaller’s goal late in the opening period.
Florida evened it on Jagr’s goal midway through the second when he one-timed Aaron Ekblad’s pass by Rask.
NOTES: Before the opening faceoff, the Bruins honored five New Englanders who won medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Gymnast Aly Raisman, from Needham, Massachusetts, dropped the ceremonial first puck. They each wore a Bruins home black and gold jersey with No. 16 and their last names on the back. … Chara returned after missing six games with a lower-body injury. “I felt pretty good for the first game,” he said. “It was a good game to come back. Florida’s a good skating team and it’s always pretty challenging to play them.” … Boston D Torey Krug wasn’t at the morning skate because of illness, but played. . Florida D Keith Yandle sustained a lower-body injury in the first and didn’t return. Rowe said after the game that Yandle “is going to be out for a while.” … Boston LW Matt Beleskey and Panthers C Jonathan Marchessault both were out with lower-body injuries, and after the game the Bruins said Beleskey will miss six weeks with a knee injury. . Rowe grew up about 25 minutes from TD Garden, in Lynn, Massachusetts.
Panthers: End their trip at the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday before going home for two straight.
Bruins: At the Washington Capitals on Tuesday before playing two in a row at home.
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