BOSTON -- David Pastrnak admitted he was a bit nervous before making his NHL debut for the Boston Bruins Monday night at TD Garden.
It’s only natural for an 18-year-old rookie, currently the youngest player in the NHL, to feel that way, but he showed his typical style of risk and reward in his first game at this level.
Pastrnak started on the Bruins’ fourth line, along with fellow rookie Alex Khokhlachev and Jordan Caron. However, late in the game Bruins coach Claude Julien decided to give Pastrnak a few shifts on the second line with Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith. Pastrnak also played on the third line.
“Well, we had to look at him, right?” Julien said. “Plus, I thought he had good legs and so I put him on a couple lines. Obviously, you can see he’s a pretty dynamic player.
“I liked his game. I know he probably didn’t get a ton of ice time, but when he was out there I liked what he did.”
Pastrnak was more disappointed in the team’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins than worried about his own game.
“I was all right. It was my first game, so I was a little bit nervous about that. I tried to enjoy it and have a good time,” Pastrnak said.
His teammates were pleased with his game.
“He’s a good player. He’s very skilled and he didn’t play a ton but when he was out there, he was making things happen,” Brad Marchand said. “You can see the talent that he has and the speed, so he did good.”
Now that his NHL career has officially begun, the Bruins have eight more games to decide whether to keep him in Boston. If he returns to Providence before that nine-game window expires and doesn’t play more than nine games with the parent club, he could finish the season with the P-Bruins and his entry-level contract would slide and begin with his first NHL season. He also could return to play in the Swedish Elite League, but at this point that doesn’t appear likely.
“It’s my dream [to play in the NHL] and my dream came true,” Pastrnak said. “I just have to keep working hard.”