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Pastrnak ‘not there yet,’ has more to give to help Bruins oust Maple Leafs in Game 5

BOSTON — David Pastrnak is mostly content.

He’s happy with what he’s producing on the ice, four points (two goals, two assists) in four games of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Toronto Maple Leafs, tied with Charlie McAvoy for third on the Boston Bruins. He’s happy with his defense, with the ways he’s committed to it for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“I’m happy with my game,” Pastrnak said Monday after practice at Warrior Ice Arena. “I’ve limited my turnovers, big time, in the playoffs. That was the focus, which also brings [that] you’re going to make less plays. When you take a lot of risk out of your game, you’re going to make less plays. But I limited those giveaways, which is a huge part of why maybe I’m not getting enough looks offensively. But I’m totally fine with it.

“So I’m really close. I’m happy with my game and I like to rise throughout the series.”

He’s also happy with the Bruins ahead 3-1 in the best-of-7 series and the chance to advance at TD Garden on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, NESN, SNP, SNO, SNE, TVAS, CBC), though he acknowledges the Maple Leafs will be “fighting for their lives.”

“It’s going to be the hardest game tomorrow, so have to make sure we are prepared for it,” Pastrnak said.

Part of the way Pastrnak prepared for the playoffs was addressing one of his few weaknesses in the regular season. The forward led the Bruins with 110 points (47 goals, 63 assists) and the NHL in a more ignominious category, giveaways. He had 98, two more than Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov (96). He also led the NHL in giveaways last season with 109, four more than Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin (105).

So far in the 2024 playoffs? He has one, so were the giveaways a specific focus entering the postseason?

“Not specifically, no,” Pastrnak said. “It’s definitely more on, like, details overall. I wanted to be very physical early on in the series because a lot of times you play against the same defensemen throughout the whole series, so that was my plan to try to be physical. Focus on the details and, honestly, defense first and limit the risk in the play, which I did.

“I’m not getting many looks, but I’m fine with it because I’m still getting enough looks and hopefully throughout the series as the games go more and more, I’ll get more and more looks.”

The Bruins have taken a defense-first approach to the Maple Leafs, starting with the exceptional play of their goalies, and have held Toronto to seven goals in the four games, including 1-for-14 on the power play. The goals have been scattered — Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk have three each — but eight players have at least one, including Pastrnak.

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