Bruins’ weekly 3 stars: David Pastrnak is back — and scoring again

Boston Bruins' David Pastrnak (88) celebrates his goal during the third period against the Flames on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016.
Boston Bruins' David Pastrnak (88) celebrates his goal during the third period against the Flames on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. –AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

COMMENTARY

It may not have been pretty for the Bruins without the services of Zdeno Chara (lower body) for the last three games, but at least they ended their Thanksgiving weekend on a high note with Sunday’s 4-1 win over the Lightning. The win snapped the B’s second three-game losing skid of the 2016-17 season.

Which Bruins stood out during a rollercoaster week? Here’s a look at the top performers in the latest edition of Weekly 3 Stars:

David Pastrnak

The first selection this week is a pretty obvious choice: Since returning from an upper-body injury on Thanksgiving night, David Pastrnak picked up right where he left off, scoring in each of his last three games.

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Unlike his first two games back, Pastrnak got help from his fellow forwards against the Lightning. He had tallied the Bruins’ last two goals prior to Sunday’s game against their Atlantic Division foes. As frustrating as it was for Pastrnak and the rest of the team, the 2014 first-round pick remained upbeat during this tough stretch and it paid off on Sunday.

“We have to stick with it and we have to bury our opportunities,” Pastrnak said following Saturday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena.

“I think we’ve had some good chances, but the thing is the [puck] just doesn’t want to go in now. I think we have so many great players on the team that knows that one goal can turn everything around. We have to keep battling hard for those opportunities and I’m pretty sure it’s coming because I always said we have a great team and some great players. So it’s just a question about timing.”

Entering Monday, Pastrnak’s 13 goals are good for second in the NHL, two behind league leader Sidney Crosby. This being the final year of his entry-level deal, it’s safe to assume that the Bruins should work on a contract extension for Pastrnak sooner rather than later.

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Jimmy Hayes

From his last goal on Feb. 24 until he finally lit the lamp during Sunday’s matinee with the Lightning, Jimmy Hayes was the centerpiece of Bruins’ fans scrutiny. At least for the time being, he can breathe a sigh of relief.

Late in the second period, Hayes tipped a feed from David Krejci past Ben Bishop to snap a 35-game goal drought. Having scored the shootout winner against the Lightning a few weeks earlier, Hayes did get a little momentum from that moment and had chances of breaking his drought earlier. Nonetheless, the 6-foot-5 forward feels a little lighter now that the monkey is off his back.

“I think I lost about 10 pounds there,” Hayes said after his celebration where he mocked tossing a monkey off his back. “I felt pretty good.”

Bruins’ penalty kill

Amidst previous struggles offensively and the defensive challenges without Chara, the penalty kill is still a reliable source of comfort for head coach Claude Julien and company. Over the last seven games, the Bruins have killed 16 straight penalties to bump them up to fourth in the league on the PK, killing penalties at an 86.7 percent success rate.

Whether it’s Dominic Moore scoring shorthanded goals, Tuukka Rask coming up with big saves or forcing teams to the perimeter, the Bruins’ penalty kill is one of the few consistencies through the first 22 games.

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