Lucic, Seguin, Kelly line keeps clicking

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Lucic, Seguin, Kelly line keeps clicking

BOSTON -- The best thing about Claude Juliens wacky line-changing high jinks was on display for the Bruins again on Saturday night as the silver lining in their latest defeat.

Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin once again each provided goals and flashed the kind of chemistry with all-purpose center Chris Kelly that deserves a longer look.

Unfortunately not enough of the other three lines had as much luck finishing off plays or tapping into their line mojo.

Instead the Bruins dropped the 4-2 decision to the Sharks on Saturday night with the other three lines going dark, but Lucic and Seguin nearly resuscitated the Bruins on their own with two goals in 29 seconds on the same shift in the third period.

Theyve been good. I said that the other night, too. Milan has played two of his best games here in the last two. When you give Tyler an opportunity, he makes things happen, said Julien. Hes playing very well for us also. Chris Kelly is probably the underrated guy on that line, but he has been tremendous with those two guys. Im happy with that line. Theyve given us exactly what we were hoping for.

Seguin continued to extend his team lead with nine points (3 goal and 6 assists) in eight games as Bostons only point-per-game player, and likes what he sees around him on that suddenly productive line.

With Lucic he makes it so much easier for you out there, hes such a big body and he goes in the corner and wins battles. For a guy like that size to have as much skill as he does its hard to find it out there. He does a great job, said Seguin. Kelly is probably one of the best positional forwards Ive ever played with. So our line seems to be clicking and hopefully it stays that way.

The two scores stole the momentum for the Bruins in a game that appeared to be shifting their way, but the Bs never executed that one final play that could have crushed San Joses spirit.

Lucic was on the board first with a goal in his second straight game, and Seguin followed by popping home a saucer pass through the crease from Lucic that tied the game up for the Bruins.

Unfortunately for all the players involved that was all the scoring Boston would muster in the loss, and Seguin was off the ice for the frantic final minute of play when he took a Benn Ferriero slash off the knee that went unnoticed by the refs.

So the ending wasnt ideal for the Bruins, but theres plenty of promise with 23-year-old Lucic and 19-year-old Seguin fostering their chemistry, and Kelly providing situational assistance and back-checking that allowed the experienced center to cover up some of the seven giveaways by the two wingers throughout the game.

Lucic actually said playing with Kelly and Seguin has helped him find his straight-ahead game because hes got to pick up his skating pace just to keep up with the instinctive Kelly and the speedy Seguin.

I feel better pursuing the puck and getting on pucks where the first five-six games I felt like I was a second late, a step late getting to pucks, said Lucic. Other teams were able to break out easy because I wasnt on top of them. Its no secret that Seguin has got some pretty good speed.

Its just trying to keep up with him has pushed me harder to get my feet moving, and its great that weve been able to create that chemistry for the three of us.

If the chemistry keeps producing results for Lucic, Seguin and Kelly, they might get the chance to create a lot more in the near future with the hope for better results in the win-loss column.

Sources: Bruins engaged in trade talks involving Ryan Spooner

Sources: Bruins engaged in trade talks involving Ryan Spooner

This probably won’t come as a complete shock to those watching the way things have played out with him this season, but the Bruins have engaged in discussions with multiple teams about a Ryan Spooner trade, per multiple sources with knowledge of the situation. 

The 23-year-old Spooner was mentioned casually a few months ago as possible fodder in a Jacob Trouba deal with the Winnipeg Jets, but that deal never really materialized prior to the Jets signing their young, frontline D-man to a two-year deal. The Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders and San Jose Sharks have all expressed interest in Spooner, per one hockey source, as it appears that things simply aren’t going to work out for him in Boston. 

It’s been a challenging year for Spooner with pedestrian numbers of three goals and eight points in 24 games, but there are plenty of mitigating circumstances behind the slow start. Spooner has been pushed into playing left wing for the bulk of the season rather than his natural, preferred center position, and he’s been dropped to the fourth line by Claude Julien over the last few weeks. At times he’s also been pulled from the Bruins power play where he racked up six goals and 17 points working off the half-wall last season.  

Julien talked about the former second round pick in frank terms after this week’s win over the Carolina Hurricanes, which featured a Spooner snipe to the top corner during a successful shootout for the Black and Gold. 

“I think at times that [David Krejci] line goes quiet, other times it’s better. We’ve tried different guys on the left side right now and one [Spooner] might give them speed but doesn’t win as many battles,” said Julien of his search for stability at left wing alongside Krejci and David Backes. “The other way [with Tim Schaller] guys are a little harder right now, and they spend more time in the O-zone. So we’re really trying hard to find the right balance there.”

Trade talks have increased the past few weeks because A) the situation has worsened recently with Spooner’s prolonged stint as a miscast fourth line winger and B) the speedy, skilled forward will most likely be a man without a spot when 22-year-old left winger Frank Vatrano returns sometime around the mid-December range. 

According to one source, the Bruins are asking for a “top six forward” in exchange for a package including Spooner, and it’s a lead pipe certainty they’re looking for some goal-scoring given their 24th ranked offense this season. That represents a bit of an organizational sea change after the Bruins searched low and high for a top-4 defenseman in trade over the summer. The emergence of 20-year-old Brandon Carlo, and the Boston defense’s performance across the board, has lowered the Black and Gold’s priority list need to trade for a D-man. 

The Bruins have scored two goals or fewer in 18 of their 25 games this season and badly need somebody that can put the puck in the net from one of the wing positions. Unfortunately for the Bruins, there aren’t a lot of top-6 forwards readily available that could make an immediate impact. It’s highly doubtful any team is going to fork one over for an asset like Spooner that’s been downgraded due to the way he’s been utilized by the Bruins this season. He hasn't played with the same creativity or confidence this season after posting 13 goals and 49 points as their third line center last season. 

So it remains to be seen what the Bruins will get for Spooner after they offered him and a draft pick to Buffalo for rental forward Chris Stewart a couple of years ago. That was a deal Sabres GM Tim Murray turned down before trading Stewart for considerably less at the trade deadline.

The bottom line: the Bruins are working the phones discussing possible Spooner deals, and it feels like there is some motivation from B’s management to move a player that doesn’t seem like he'll ever be a proper fit in Julien’s system. 

Sunday Dec. 4: Zacha adjusting to life in the NHL

Sunday Dec. 4: Zacha adjusting to life in the NHL

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling at the Bruins setting a franchise record this season for fewest practices in a regular season. Thanks compacted schedule due to the World Cup!

*Pavel Zacha is adjusting to life as a rookie in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils, and things are getting better as they go along.

*Manitoba Moose players relive their favorite Star Wars moments prior to the team holding their Star Wars Night.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman sits down with new Florida Panthers head coach Tom Rowe to discuss the massive changes in that organization with the firing of Gerard Gallant.

*Good for Anders Nilson putting a rainbow decal on the back of his goalie to mask to support some gay friends that have faced public resistance in their lives.

*Bruce Garrioch has his weekly NHL notes with several players, including Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald, potentially on the trade block if anybody wants them.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson suffering a broken leg that will keep him out 6-8 weeks.

*There was no blood for the Vancouver Canucks fans, but there was still plenty of drama in a win over the Maple Leafs.

*For something completely different: The World Baseball Classic works for everybody except for Major League Baseball, and that would appear to be a problem.