Bruins break NHL wins record, Pastrnak gets to 60 goals
What could have been an uneventful evening in Philadelphia given the number of top players sitting for Boston instead turned into a historic one for David Pastrnak and the Bruins, with Pastrnak reaching 60 goals on the season and the Bruins breaking the NHL’s single-season wins record with their 63rd of the year.
Pastrnak registered his 15th career hat trick in the 5-3 win over the Flyers, giving him 60 goals for the season and 300 for his career. He joins Phil Esposito as just the second Bruin to score 60 in a season, and becomes the 23rd player in NHL history to do it.
On the team side of history, the Bruins have now won more games in a single regular season than any team in NHL history. After tying the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings and 2018-19 Tampa Bay Lightning at 62 wins on Saturday, they now move one ahead, with two games still to go to potentially add to their record.
Playing on the second day of a back-to-back for the fifth straight Sunday, the Bruins opted to rest several of their top players, with Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Taylor Hall, Charlie McAvoy, Dmitry Orlov and Linus Ullmark all not making the trip to Philadelphia. It was the fourth straight game that Krejci has missed and the fourth in the last eight that Bergeron has sat out. Coach Jim Montgomery has said both are dealing with nagging injuries, but that both are expected to be fine for Game 1 of the playoffs.
The Bruins called up forwards Vinni Lettieri and Oskar Steen, defensemen Connor Carrick and Jack Ahcan, and goalie Brandon Bussi on an emergency basis earlier Sunday, and Lettieri and Carrick both drew into the lineup for Sunday’s game.
Carrick, a 28-year-old journeyman with 242 games of NHL experience under his belt, made an immediate impact, setting up Charlie Coyle for the game-opening goal just 47 seconds in. It was Carrick’s first NHL point since April 27, 2021, and was Coyle’s 15th goal of the season.
The lead lasted just 17 seconds. Jeremy Swayman misplayed a puck and Connor Clifton couldn’t clear away the loose change before Wade Allison swooped in and whacked it past both of them for a Flyers goal.
The Bruins retook the lead 2:04 into the second on Pastrnak’s first goal of the day and 58th of the season, as he took a pass from Clifton, wheeled into the high slot and beat Felix Sandstrom five-hole with a shot the Philadelphia goalie probably should have stopped.
If Pastrnak got a little bit of puck luck on that goal, it was karma for several other close calls that didn’t go his way. Pastrnak hit a post and a crossbar in the first period, then had a goal waved off in the second period because Clifton was ruled to have interfered with Sandstrom -- even though Clifton probably would have avoided Sandstrom if not for a shove from Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov. Pastrnak also missed out on an empty-net goal Saturday night by mere centimeters.
No puck luck was needed on Pastrnak’s actual second goal of the game. Just a few minutes after the disallowed goal, Pastrnak stepped into a pass from Tyler Bertuzzi and ripped a one-timer past Sandstrom for his 59th goal of the season.
The Flyers cut the lead to 3-2 when Clifton and Jakub Zboril both misplayed a bouncing puck, sending Joel Farabee in alone for a breakaway goal.
Pastrnak restored the two-goal lead early in the third, scoring his historic 60th goal 39 seconds into the period to make it 4-2. A Hampus Lindholm pass breakup set up a 2-on-1 for Pastrnak and Bertuzzi, and Pastrnak finished off a return pass from Bertuzzi, beating Sandstrom five-hole once again.
The Flyers, to their credit, didn’t go away quietly, with Owen Tippett cutting the lead to 4-3 with 10:54 to go. The Bruins, however, found a way to close out the victory, as they so often have this season. With 3:04 to go, the line of Pastrnak, Bertuzzi and Pavel Zacha struck for the fourth time, with Bertuzzi and Zacha going to work on the forecheck before Pastrnak set up Zacha to make it 5-3.
The Bruins will wrap up the regular season this week with games against Washington on Tuesday and Montreal on Thursday. If they still want something to take aim at, they can now target the single-season points record. They’re at 131 after Sunday’s win, one behind the 1976-77 Canadiens’ record of 132. One more win will leapfrog them over that legendary Habs team.