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Pastrnak's power-play goal lifts Bruins over Jets, 3-2

BOSTON (AP) — David Pastrnak scored a tiebreaking power-play goal early in the third period to give the surging Boston Bruins a 3-2 win over the travel-weary Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.

Charlie Coyle and Oskar Steen also scored for Boston, which is 10-2 since New Year’s Day. Tuukka Rask made 21 saves for the Bruins in his third start after re-signing this month following offseason hip surgery.

Andrew Copp and Jansen Harkins each had a goal for the Jets, who played their seventh of eight games on the road to open 2022 because of COVID-19-related postponements. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 29 shots.

Winnipeg plays the final game of its lengthy trip Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh.

“It's a frustrating loss for sure. The schedule is going to get harder and harder," Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois said. "We have a back-to-back in 22 hours, which I’ve never had in my life, except maybe in juniors.”

Boston’s leading scorer, Brad Marchand, surprisingly returned to the lineup Saturday after leaving Thursday’s game with an apparent right shoulder injury when he was hit from behind into boards by Washington’s Garnet Hathaway, a check that Boston coach Bruce Cassidy felt was a “cheap” play. Cassidy said on Friday that Marchand would be out at least one game.

The winger got a huge ovation when he was announced in the starting lineup.

“It's been a little bit of whirlwind," Marchand said. "I didn't expect to play today either. I have to give our training staff a ton of credit. They threw everything at it. This morning it felt a little better and I jumped on the ice and it felt OK.”

In the third period, and with Adam Lowry off for interference, Pastrnak one-timed Matt Grzelcyk’s pass into the net from the left circle for his 10th goal in the last 10 games.

“We rely on him for that shot and he came through for us,” Cassidy said.

The Jets had a 6-on-4 advantage for the final 1:27 of the game with their goalie pulled and Boston's Tomas Nosek off for high-sticking.

“We know how to play winning hockey over the years,” Cassidy said of the third period. “We have guys that have been here and done it.”

The Jets are 3-3-1 in their current road trip to start 2022. They hope to finish the stretch above .500 on Sunday.

“It would be a nice way to close out the trip and go home to Winnipeg and play in an empty building,” Jets forward Blake Wheeler said.

In the first period, Harkins’ wrister from the left circle ticked off Rask’s glove into the net, making it 1-0 at 2:46. Steen collected a loose puck in front and tied it with about 8 minutes left in the first, but Mark Scheifele’s cross-ice pass hit off Copps’ skate and then caromed into the net off the skate of Bruins defenseman Urho Vaakanainen with only 26 seconds left in the first.

Coyle tipped in Derek Forbort’s shot from the point, tying it at 2 just 2:31 into the second.

MAYBE ANOTHER DAY

Winger Steven Fogarty was set to make his Bruins debut before Marchand felt he was good to play. The 28-year-old Fogarty has played 27 games in his NHL career, scoring one goal in his time with the Rangers and Sabres. He was recalled from club’s AHL affiliate in Providence, Rhode Island, where he scored eight goals in 26 games this season.

The team’s pregame TV broadcast even highlighted Fogarty’s upcoming debut during warmups.

NOTES: Grzelcyk left after getting checked into the board by Dubois in the first period but returned at the beginning of the second. Grzelcyk went to ice in pain as play continued and was slumped over when he skated to the bench. … Bruins defenseman Mike Reilly remains in COVID-19 protocol. … It was Boston’s sixth of a seven-game homestand. “It's nice to be able to have your routine at home, but you have to take advantage of it,” Coyle said. … The Jets activated Wheeler from long-term injured reserve before the game and placed forward Nikolaj Ehlers on long-term reserve … Winnipeg outshot Boston 11-4 in the first but Boston got the initial nine on goal in the second.

UP NEXT

Jets: At Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Bruins: Host Anaheim on Monday night.

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Ken Powtak, The Associated Press