Bruins open final road trip of month vs. Kraken

The NHL-leading Boston Bruins will trek west to finish the month of February, starting a four-game road trip on Thursday night against the Seattle Kraken.

While Boston has won four consecutive games, Seattle’s four-game streak (3-0-1) without a loss in regulation was snapped with Monday’s 4-0 setback to San Jose.

The Bruins have recently benefited from the return of forward Jake DeBrusk, who has scored in back-to-back games after missing 17 with multiple injuries.

But David Pastrnak shined yet again in the latest victory, a 3-1 triumph over Ottawa on Monday.

Pastrnak scored twice to become just the fifth Bruin ever to reach the 40-goal mark three times in a career and the second to do so in consecutive years. Current team president Cam Neely was the last to accomplish the latter feat more than 30 years ago.

Pastrnak, who is second in the NHL to Edmonton’s Connor McDavid in goals, has hit that lofty mark despite scoring just three goals in his last seven games.

“He naturally finds holes,” Boston coach Jim Montgomery said of Pastrnak. “He finds soft areas, we call it, in the other team’s defensive zone system. … When he’s really on, like he was (Monday), it jumps out at you. When he has his B-game, it still jumps out at you, that’s how good he is.”

Pastrnak was not the only elite playmaker in the Boston lineup that day, as defenseman Charlie McAvoy was also locked in, logging three assists against Ottawa. It was his second three-assist game of the season.

Boston will not play at home again until March 2. Before then, it will also visit Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.

The Bruins have matched the 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers for the fewest games to reach 90 points in NHL history.

“We all know what we can do in this room, and we’ve got to be mentally prepared for each game,” said forward David Krejci, who was honored prior to Monday’s game for reaching the 1,000-game milestone earlier this season. “We hit a little tough patch maybe a couple of weeks ago, but we’re a good team.”

In the midst of the second-year franchise’s first-ever playoff chase, the Kraken’s Monday effort was simply not desirable.

“You look at the footraces, the hardness and the battles at the puck, and (San Jose) won the majority of those for a lot of stretches of the game,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said. “You can turn that, with some execution, at a point in the hockey game.”

The execution never came, resulting in the Kraken’s third shutout loss of the season and second in a span of eight games.

Seattle can turn its fortunes around with another strong performance against Boston. The Kraken’s 3-0 win on Jan. 12 marked the Bruins’ first of just two regulation home losses and their only shutout loss this season.

Eeli Tolvanen and Jared McCann were riding five-game point streaks before Seattle was blanked by San Jose.

The Kraken are currently in a third-place tie with Edmonton in the Pacific Division with one game in hand and currently hold the final divisional playoff spot.

“It’s every game that is huge. You can’t get too far ahead,” Seattle forward Yanni Gourde said. “You can’t get too low. Just gotta be in the moment, you got to be present, and you got to look at the full focus of the challenge ahead.”

–Field Level Media