BOSTON (AP) — David Pastrnak had already scored twice, and with the Senators’ net empty, a third was within reach.
The Bruins forward passed up the chance at a hat trick — and the league lead in goals — and fed the puck to teammate David Krejci, whose family was at the game for a celebration honoring his 1,000th career NHL game.
“That was my only goal,” said Pastrnak, who scored twice to lead Boston to a 3-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Monday. “I was looking for him all game.”
Linus Ullmark stopped 30 shots in the Bruins’ fourth straight victory. Jake DeBrusk also scored for Boston — the second straight time he has opened the scoring in two games since returning from an injury.
Pastrnak broke a second-period tie to pass the 40-goal plateau for the third time in his career, and added another goal in the third for No. 41. Edmonton’s Connor McDavid leads the league with 42 goals.
With the Bruins in the Ottawa zone and no goalie in net in the final minute, Pastrnak was looking for Krecji.
“It just says a lot about the character that (Pastrnak) has as a human being, and understanding it was a big night for Krech,” said DeBrusk, who returned Saturday after missing 17 games with a broken leg. “He’s in position to get a hat trick and he still dishes it to Krech. It’s pretty cool.”
Claude Giroux scored and Kevin Mandolese stopped 29 shots for the Senators, who were playing back-to-back games; they beat St. Louis on Sunday. Ottawa had won its previous two games against Boston this season.
Playing in only his second game since the Jan. 2 Winter Classic, DeBrusk gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead with five minutes remaining in the first. Giroux tied it for Ottawa with 30 seconds left in the period.
It remained that way until the Bruins had two good scoring chances late in the second.
The first came when Pavel Zacha went crashing into Mandolese and lost control of the puck. A review showed that it never crossed the goal line. On the ensuing faceoff, Charlie McAvoy found Pastrnak to the goalie’s left and Pastrnak sent the puck high into the corner of the net.
Midway through the third, Pastrnak drifted down the ice while his teammates fought to gain control in their own zone. Finally, McAvoy chipped the puck free from one knee and it made it to Pastrnak, who had a 20-foot lead on the nearest defender.
“He beat three guys with one pass,” said Pastrnak, who skated in on Mandolese, switched to his backhand at the last minute and then slid it through the goalie’s pads.
The Bruins honored Krejci before the opening faceoff for playing in his 1,000th game.
The forward, who reached the milestone on Jan. 16, has played his entire 16-year NHL career in Boston. The ceremony featured a video with tributes from current and former teammates including Zdeno Chara and Jaromir Jagr to Patrice Bergeron and Pastrnak.
Krejci’s family joined him on the ice when he was given a silver engraved stick, a watch, a painting and a Tiffany crystal from the NHL, which was presented by Hall of Famer John Bucyk.
Many of the Bruins wore hats with a special “1KREJCI” logo.
Bruins anthem singer Todd Angilly had to do a restart before the game when he began with the U.S. national anthem for the game against Ottawa.
With the Canadian flag shown on the scoreboard, Angilly belted out his usual “O say can you see …” before realizing that the organ was playing a different song. He stopped and then went into “O, Canada” and followed it with “The Star-Spangled Banner” without further difficulty.
He smiled and gave the fans a wave before leaving the ice.
Angilly became a fan favorite during the Bruins’ 2019 to the Stanley Cup Final by singing the anthem as a side gig as a bartender in one of the TD Garden clubs. After singing the anthem – or anthems – he returns to serve drinks.
Senators: At Carolina on Friday.
Bruins: At Seattle on Thursday night.
AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports