BOSTON — David Pastrnak scored three goals and set up one that helped Jake DeBrusk set a career high with five points, sending the Boston Bruins to a 6-3 victory over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night.
Coming off a 3-1 road trip but disappointed after blowing a two-goal lead Monday night against the NHL-best Tampa Bay Lightning, the Bruins broke it open with four goals in the third period for their 12th straight victory at home. It’s their longest streak since winning 14 straight during the 2008-09 season.
Pastrnak completed his fourth career hat trick and third this season with a power-play goal to make it 4-2 with 7:08 to play, triggering a flow of hats littering the ice. He became the first Bruins player with a trio of hat tricks in one season since Hall of Famer Cam Neely in 1993-94.
The Bruins had gone 1-7-2 in their last 10 games against the Rangers, including losing the first two meetings this season. Backup goalie Jaroslav Halak made 20 saves. Charlie McAvoy had a goal and Patrice Bergeron the other for Boston, tipping in Pastrnak’s shot.
Mika Zibanejad had two goals and Ryan Strome also scored for the Rangers, who have lost six of seven as the season nears a close and their rebuilding project continues after dealing away eight players off the roster at the past two trade deadlines.
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 26 shots, losing for just the second time in his last nine games against the Bruins. He made a highlight-reel save midway into the first period on Chris Wagner when he lunged across the crease to make a stick save.
Pastrnak’s second goal and team-leading 35th of the season broke a 1-all tie at 9:15 of the second. It came off a nice set up from David Krejci, who cut around Rangers defenceman Tony DeAngelo and shifted from forehand to backhand before slipping a cross-ice pass to the winger, who sent a one-timer into the net from the right circle.
Pastrnak then made a beautiful cross-ice pass to DeBrusk, who made it a two-goal lead 3:19 into the third.
With the Rangers short-handed following a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty, Pastrnak one-timed a feed from Brad Marchand, moving Boston ahead 2:48 into the game.
The Rangers tied it with a power-play goal of their own when Strome sent Zibanejad in alone and he reached back to slip a forehand behind Halak as he was skating across the edge of crease at 16:29 of the first period.
NOTES: The Bruins announced they’ve reached a 10-year agreement with their AHL affiliate in Providence, Rhode Island. They’ve been together continually since 1992. . Team president Neely met the media to discuss the agreement with Providence and was asked about the probable first-round playoff matchup with Toronto, which entered the night as the Eastern Conference’s fourth-best team. “We don’t want to look past anybody. We’ve got a strong division with Toronto and Tampa,” he said. “Would I like to see 2 play 7? Probably.” . Boston D Torey Krug returned after missing six games while he was in concussion protocol. . Nearly half (40 of 76) of the Rangers’ games have been decided by one goal. . New York D Brady Skjei took a puck off the side of the head and left the ice in the third.
Rangers: Host the St. Louis Blues on Friday.
Bruins: Host Florida on Saturday. Boston beat the Panthers 7-3 in their last meeting at Florida on Saturday.
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Ken Powtak, The Associated Press