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Weekes on the Web

Friday Four: Pastrnak continues to shine for Bruins

NHL Network analyst Weekes also discusses Lightning, Stars, Bouwmeester

by Kevin Weekes @KevinWeekes / NHL Network Analyst

Each Friday throughout the season Kevin Weekes will bring you his Friday Four. The former goalie and current NHL Network analyst will be blogging about four players, teams, plays, or trends that have caught his eye.

 

David Pastrnak

The Boston Bruins forward is tied for first in the League with 41 goals and has matched his NHL career high with 81 points (41 goals, 40 assists). He has increased his goal total in each of the past five seasons after scoring 10 as a rookie in 2014-15. That's impressive considering Pastrnak had 34 in 2016-17, his third season; he's scored 35, 38 and 41 (in 58 games) since then.

Pastrnak scored three goals against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday for his fourth hat trick of the season, and he's well on his way to 50. It wouldn't be surprising to see him win the Rocket Richard Trophy, which says something since the race also includes Auston Matthews (41 goals) and Alex Ovechkin (40).

After falling one win short of the Stanley Cup last season, Pastrnak and the Bruins are on a mission. Once they get to the playoffs, I'd expect big things from Pastrnak, who had 19 points in 24 playoff games last season and has averaged more than a point per playoff game in his NHL career (43 points in 42 games).

Video: MTL@BOS: Pastrnak takes goal-scoring lead with hatty

 

Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay has turned its game around after a slow start. The Lightning have won nine straight, are 24-4-2 since Dec. 10 and have closed within one point of the first-place Boston Bruins in the Atlantic Division and the NHL standings.

Andrei Vasilevskiy is 18-0-2 with a .935 save percentage in his past 20 games, setting a team record for longest point streak. He's putting himself in the conversation to win the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goalie in consecutive seasons. The Lightning have allowed more than two goals in regulation once in their past 11 games and are clamping down defensively at the right time.

Forwards Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Anthony Cirelli did not play in a 3-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday. Those are three key players that Tampa Bay will need down the stretch, so let's keep an eye on that.

 

Dallas Stars

The Stars, who began the season 1-7-1, are three points behind the first-place St. Louis Blues in the Central Division and have won three straight games -- all against good teams. They defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday following wins against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday (4-1) and the Blues on Saturday (3-2 in overtime).

Although the Stars are dealing with injuries to forwards Alexander Radulov and Joe Pavelski, they're finding ways to win. Tyler Seguin scored the winning goal in the victory at Toronto to end a 17-game goal drought. They'll need more out of him if they expect to advance deep into the playoffs.

Lastly, as well as Ben Bishop has played (19-12-4, 2.37 goals-against average, .924 save percentage), backup Anton Khudobin has been just as good. He's 14-7-1 with a 2.26 GAA and .928 save percentage. They've been one of the best tandems in the League.

Video: TBL@DAL: Bishop uses glove to deny Point

 

Jay Bouwmeester

It was a scary scene in Anaheim on Tuesday when Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester had a cardiac episode on the bench in a game against the Anaheim Ducks.

The NHL did the right thing by postponing the game, as all of the concern was on Bouwmeester's heath. He is doing well, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said, and had a successful medical procedure done on Friday. Bouwmeester's teammates and countless players and staff on other teams have sent their best wishes and shown their support, showing the camaraderie throughout the League.

Let's hope for a speedy recovery for the 36-year-old, who is a quiet leader and an important part of a Blues team that's trying to repeat as Stanley Cup champion.

 

HONORABLE MENTION

What a great moment it was for Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin to have their numbers retired by the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday. Henrik (No. 33) and Daniel (No. 22) are two of the best, if not the best, Canucks of all time for their work on and off the ice. They were also two of the most well-respected players in the League, and having their numbers retired was a well-deserved honor.

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