David Pastrnak recorded his 11th career hat trick to punctuate the highly anticipated return of goaltender Tuukka Rask as the Boston Bruins held off the visiting Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on Thursday night.
Pastrnak's trio of goals gave him 16, second on the team behind Brad Marchand's 19. The right wing's third goal, on a power play at 16:45 of the second period, broke a 2-2 tie to put Boston in front for good.
Rask made 25 saves in his season debut and first game since Game 6 of the Bruins' second-round series against the New York Islanders on June 9, 2021.
The 34-year-old goaltender underwent offseason hip surgery and signed a one-year, $1 million deal to re-join the Bruins on Tuesday.
Boston earned its season-high fourth straight victory and improved to 7-1-0 since resuming play after the league-wide pandemic schedule pause.
Cam Atkinson scored his team-leading 15th goal and Joel Farabee netted his 11th for the Flyers. Carter Hart stopped 33 of 36 shots for Philadelphia, which suffered its sixth consecutive defeat.
Pastrnak opened the scoring on a wrist shot in the slot just 1:51 into the game. He scored again at the 5:27 mark of the opening period, on a wrist shot from the right circle for a power-play strike.
Atkinson's power-play tip-in of Ivan Provorov's shot from the top of the right circle cut the Flyers' deficit to 2-1 at 8:02 of the second.
Farabee tied it at 2-2 with exactly five minutes left in the middle period, finishing off a give-and-go with Atkinson with a backhander.
Boston defenseman Matt Grzelcyk missed the game after landing in the NHL's COVID-19 protocols before the game. One additional Bruins staffer also was placed in the protocol.
Bruins defenseman John Moore (upper-body injury) and forwards Nick Foligno (lower body) and Trent Frederic (upper body) all sat out.
Flyers center Sean Couturier (upper body) missed his seventh straight game. Defensemen Rasmus Ristolainen (COVID protocols) and Ryan Ellis (lower body) and center Derick Brassard (hip) also were sidelined for Philadelphia.