PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Boston Bruins are trying to determine whether 18-year-old rookie David Pastrnak has the physicality to remain on their roster.
Now, they know he can score.
Pastrnak scored his first two career NHL goals to lead the Boston Bruins to a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
“He skates well and puts teams on their heels with his speed,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “Right now, it’s just, ‘Is he strong enough?’ And does he have the durability to do that on a nightly basis in this league at the age of 18. We’re evaluating him as each game goes on.”
Chris Kelly added a short-handed goal for Boston, which won its third straight.
“I thought we played well enough that we deserved to win today,” Julien said.
Claude Giroux scored for Philadelphia, which fell further out of the Eastern Conference playoff race. Jakub Voracek, who entered leading the NHL with 49 points, assisted Giroux’s goal.
Coach Craig Berube remained positive afterward.
“We did a lot of good things today and if we play like that we’ll win a lot of games,” he said.
The Flyers lost goaltender Steve Mason to injury as he left 7:07 into the opening period with a lower body injury. Mason went down and appeared to clutch the back of his right knee after extending his right leg to save Craig Cunningham’s shot.
Mason, who was replaced by Ray Emery, has been battling an injury all week. He had an MRI on Monday and was questionable with a lower body injury for Tuesday’s game against Ottawa but played in Tuesday’s 2-1 shootout victory and again was in net in Thursday’s 3-2 overtime victory over Washington.
Berube didn’t provide an update afterward as to the extent of time Mason might miss.
Boston quickly took advantage of Mason’s absence when Pastrnak scored with 8:37 left in the first period. Zdeno Chara passed from behind the net to Torey Krug. Krug’s shot from the left circle bounced off Emery to Pastrnak, who flipped it past Emery.
It was the first career goal for Pastrnak, the youngest active NHL player who was appearing in his seventh game and second since being recalled from AHL Providence on Tuesday.
“(Krug) had a great shot and I got the rebound and just tried to hit the puck,” Pastrnak said. “It feels great.”
The tally ended a six-game road drought on the power play for the Bruins, who had been 0 for 14 on the man advantage in their previous six road games while extending Philadelphia’s struggles on the penalty kill. The Flyers entered the day last in the league by killing off 74.8 percent of opponents’ power plays.
Boston went up 3-0 with two goals in the third period.
Pastrnak netted his second of the game 4:58 into the period. Pastrnak skated across the blue line, passed to David Krejci and then found an opening to the right of Emery. Krejci whipped a cross-ice pass to a wide-open Krejci, who one-timed it into the empty net as Emery was slow to move laterally.
“I just moved to where my skates go and he found me,” Pastrnak said. “It wasn’t hard to score.”
It was the third career point for Pastrnak, who had an assist on Dec. 1 at Anaheim.
Kelly took Loui Eriksson’s pass and beat Emery with a wrist shot on the glove side on a 2-on-1 short-handed break with 10:09 left.
Giroux fired a wrist shot from the top of the left circle past Tuukka Rask’s stick side with 5:47 remaining.
It was too little too late for Philadelphia.
“We played hard and I thought the guys stayed with it all game,” Berube said. “It’s disappointing for sure but we have to stay positive.”
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