NHL | Fourteen games, 17 points. Zacha broke free from the chain before the playoffs. Top center, says Boston coach

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“Pavel had problems with consistency at the Devils. He was able to score in three or four games in a row. But then he had ten games to zero,” recalled Patrik Eliáš, the legend of New Jersey.

In this Boston season, however, Zacha’s longest hitting streak was just four games in a row. And lately, considering his circumstances, he’s been really off the hook. He scored 17 points (7+10) in his last 14 starts! Last time in Nashville, he licked the cream in the end after a beautiful collaboration between David Pastrňák and Danton Heinen, from whom he received the puck in front of an open goal.

“A great game, like in the playoffs,” praised coach Jim Montgomery. On the part of the Bruins, it was one of the best performances in the regular season, which was also supported by the flawless goalkeeper Linus Ullmark. Two quick attacks plus Pastrňák’s goal into an empty net set the final score at 3:0 for the guests from Boston in the final ten minutes.

Sometimes Zacha has to laugh at what combinations his teammates, led by Pastrňák, come up with for him. But he himself is not ashamed of his creative abilities either. His offense, with Pasta and Heinen on the ice together in five-on-five play over the past month, has outscored opponents 12-4.

“Pav gets more heavy minutes because he is used against the best formations. It may have taken away a little bit of his offense, but he’s become a top center,” says Montgomery.

Even so, Zacha will be attacking his personal records from last season, when he collected 57 points for 21 goals and 36 assists. In the last six games of the regular season, he can easily improve in all categories, as he is on 53 points for 19+34.

“I think that when I joined the team last year, everything kind of fell into place,” said Zacha, who praised the numerous Czech enclave and the invaluable mentoring lessons from David Krejčí and Patrice Bergeron, from which he still benefits today. In addition, the management led by Don Sweeney indicated to him with a four-year contract for 19 million dollars that they count on him for bigger and more difficult tasks.

“I was put in situations to succeed. I play a lot of minutes, power plays, fades. I am very happy that I accepted this challenge to join a team that is determined to win,” acknowledged Zacha. “After years in New Jersey, I needed a fresh start. And when Boston told me how much they wanted me, there was no problem. I got the support I needed at the Bruins.”

Less than three weeks before the start of the playoffs, Zacha is now playing his best hockey. And in Boston, he believes that his form will stick to him even in the elimination part, where the Bruins want to make up for last year’s first-round collapse against Florida.

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The article is in Czech

Tags: NHL Fourteen games points Zacha broke free chain playoffs Top center Boston coach

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