By: Ryan Duffy | Follow Me On Twitter @Rduffy26
The Bruins enter the NHL All-Star break on a high note as they snapped their season-high three-game losing streak in a 5-2 victory over their inner-division rival Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday night. Once again, Bruins top-six forward Pavel Zacha continued his strong performance, tallying two goals in the outing versus the Leafs.
The Brno, Czech Republic, native now has six goals and four assists over his last nine games since signing his four-year, $4.75 million AAV contract extension with Boston. The 25-year-old winger has 11 goals and 21 assists through 51 games.
Zacha was sent to the Boston Bruins back on July 13th, 2022, in a one-for-one trade that sent former Bruins’ center Erik Haula to the New Jersey Devils. Zacha was drafted by the Devils in the first round (6th overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and tallied 69 goals and 110 assists through 386 games with the Devils. Devils’ fans seemed to criticize Zacha in his time in a New Jersey uniform considering his status as a high first-round pick and his point production.
This season, Zacha has excelled with Boston playing alongside his fellow Czechia natives David Pastrnak and David Krejci. Per MoneyPuck.com, through 39 games, the Czech line has the most goals as a line combination on the team with 19 tallies and is tied for the highest average goals per 60 minutes with 4.36. Aside from the offensive statistics that show how dangerous the second line is, the combination has some astounding chemistry.
The former Devil is only one point away from surpassing his previous career-high in points when he reached 36 last season, and 28 of them this season have impressively come at 5-on-5 play. His 5-on-5 tallies rank third on the team behind linemates Pastrnak (35 points) and Krejci (29 points). With every game that passes, Zacha’s confidence continues to grow.
“I just feel better and better with every game I play with this team and I don’t think I’ve felt better before,” Zacha told media members per The Boston Globe. “I think playing with teammates like I do and everyone’s really good to me in the locker room and everywhere else, all the players are great, everyone wants to win and it’s such a winning culture and it’s great to be part of.”
Based on how reliable offensively Pavel Zacha and the Czech line have played thus far, the coaching staff will likely keep the trio together in the remaining games of the regular season barring an injury to the Bruins top-six. Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery in his first season behind the bench has often used different line combinations mid-game, but the Bruins are deepest when they have the Czech line together.
So far, Don Sweeney’s trade and recent signing of Zacha has paid off. In his first year with the Bruins organization, the coaching staff, management, and fans must be impressed with what Zacha has brought to the table and how he adds depth to the Bruins lineup. Zacha will be a critical depth piece in the Bruins lineup come April when they embark on their aspirations to make a deep run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.