David Pastrnak’s bank-shot homage to ‘pool halls’ seals Bruins win over Red Wings


“I was like, ‘What do you mean — are you trying to play some pool tonight?’”

Boston Bruins' David Pastrnak celebrates after scoring on a penalty shot during the third period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, in Boston.
David Pastrnak is now up to eight goals in eight games with the Bruins. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

David Pastrnak might have 309 career goals on his resume, but the 27-year-old winger is far from a one-trick pony when it comes to his offensive-zone wizardry.

A howitzer of a one-time shot has dented multiple penalty-kill units and made even the sturdiest netminders duck for cover.

But the All-Star winger can dice up opposing defensive structures via a sharp wrist shot, an array of dekes and dangles, or even an elusive tribute to Luis Tiant with a disguised shot into the top corner. 

But on a night where Pastrnak once again made an established goalie in Ville Husso bite left and right en route to his second penalty-shot goal of the 2023-24 season, most of the questions he fielded following Boston’s 4-1 win revolved more around his empty-net tally with 2:19 left on the clock.

After all, Pastrnak is a menace when he has his sights set on twine. But if he’s lighting the lamp on bank shots? The rest of the NHL might be in trouble.

“Pasta, I betcha he doesn’t know geometry,” Jim Montgomery said postgame of Pastrnak’s shot off the boards that eventually slid into Detroit’s net. “But [he] knows it probably in pool halls, and he definitely knows it on the ice.”

Pastrnak received some much-needed clarity during his postgame scrum with the media, considering that teammate Patrick Brown asked him a similar question about whether his skill at pool paid dividends during his second goal of the evening.

“Oh okay that’s why — Brown asked me if I’m a good pool player and I didn’t get it,” Pastrnak said with a smile. “I was like, ‘What do you mean — are you trying to play some pool tonight?’ So I told him, ‘No, I’m terrible.’ Now I got it, thank you.”

“No, I’m not good,” Pastrnak added of his pool game after a pause. “I was just exhausted.”

Pastrnak, who has now scored eight times in Boston’s first eight games of the new season, acknowledged that a ricochet shot was far from being at the forefront of his thought process when he let the puck go after Husso decided to vacate the net. 

“No, I was just trying to get it out,” Pastrnak acknowledged. “I was there for a while and I wanted to get a change, honestly. … Just a lucky bounce. Yeah, I just tried to get off the ice, and get some fresh legs.”

Pastrnak likely won’t be padding his stats this season with a bevy of bank shots and other fortunate bounces.

But given his versatile skill set and potent shot, the All-Star should be able to beat goalies night and night out with the several other moves at his disposal.

“Yeah, he’s got a mixed bag and that’s hard to do in this league,” Jeremy Swayman said of Pastrnak’s game. “[To be] unreadable and have some many different go-to moves. … Again, that’s why he’s an all-class player. I’m glad he’s on my team.”