Seguin rediscovering his game after lull

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Seguin rediscovering his game after lull

It looks like things might be turning around for Tyler Seguin.

After going through an offensive slowdown that saw the 19-year-old pot only two goals in 14 games and getscratched in a road gamefor disciplinary reasons, Seguin is heating up once again. He earned an assist on Brad Marchands game winning goal in the Bs 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden, and has chalked up three points and 11 shots on net in his last two games.

The high-powered winger was also part of the Boston quintet on the ice that allowed Montreals first goal when the B's wall of defensecouldnt slow down Tomas Plekanecs rush into the offensive zone, but thats become a trade-off that the Bruins are willing to make. The entire team defense suffered a letdown in the second period, but Seguin made up for it with the perfect tape-to-tape saucer pass straight out of the nasty hockey skills handbook to set up Marchand's game-winner.

With Tyler its starting to come around again. You can see those kinds of offensive plays, said Claude Julien. I wouldnt say its half and half, but there are times in the game where we see some of the things that hes struggling with.

But then hell go out the next shift and do the things that we know hes very good at. That consistency is something Seguin is working on. Those offensive plays hes been making have been more of his nature are encouraging right now because it shows that hes working his way out of it.

Seguin has responded with three points in his last two games, and is still on pace for 37 goals and nearly 80 points for the kind of scoring totals the Bruins havent witnessed in several seasons. So what was the key to Seguin turning things around with so much swirling around the second-year player? What was the answer to counteract his offensive slowdown that seemed tocoincide with the disciplinary actions taken against himin Winnipeg after missing a morning meeting?

We all go through little valleys in the season, said Seguin. Its about finding that consistency and dealing with that self-frustration when youre not getting points.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara actually sat down with Seguin while the team was in Ottawa, and the veteran leader sensed his young teammate was straying from his game out of sheerdesperation. Charas message in the conversation was simple: Scale things back to the foundation of your game and focus on your offensive skills.

That little chat between seasoned leader and fresh-faced youngster left Seguin empowered with the same kind of confidence and determination that marked his start to the season. It also allowed the 19-year-old to relax and take the weight of the world off his shoulders while the Bruins kept churning out the wins.

Offensive struggleshaven't reallyhappened to me much in my career, but I really felt a difference after having a conversation with Chara in Ottawa, said Seguin. I give him a lot of credit. He told me to get back to what Im good at and stop getting frustrated about not getting points or whatever. It goes a long way. I dont know if he realizes it, but I could see it on his face when he was talking to me that he really cares about me. He told me whats up and it was something that really worked for me.

I had been thinking a lot. I know my strengths are skating and shooting, and I had a lot of shots on net in my last game. I know I had a few more shots tonight. I know Im getting back to that.

Seguin isnt all the way back to the electric offensive talent that sparked the Bruins in the opening months of the season, but hes back on the road to the top thanks to some inspirational words from his captain.

Haggerty: It's time for Pastrnak to take a step forward

Haggerty: It's time for Pastrnak to take a step forward

BRIGHTON -- The third season is usually a pivotal one when it comes to an NHL player's development and trying to forecast exactly how high their ceiling will be.

So it is for David Pastrnak, who is expected to take a major leap forward in his third year after showing flashes of great promise in each of his first two seasons.

“The [World Cup] is done, so now all of my focus is on being as ready as I can for this upcoming season,” said Pastrnak, 20, who threw probably the biggest hit of his career on unsuspecting teammate Patrice Bergeron when the Czechs played Team Canada in the preliminary rounds. “I feel way bigger, very comfortable on the ice, and I obviously feel really good right now.”

Pastrnak has had moments of dazzling brilliance in Boston so far while riding the usual learning curve that every young player travels in Claude Julien’s system. In addition, injuries last season sidetracked his development process.

Pastrnak put up 21 goals and 55 points between Boston and Providence as the youngest player in either league as an 18-year-old rookie two years ago. Last season he had 15 goals and 26 points in 51 games for the Bruins while also missing significant time because of a fractured foot. The injury not only sidelined him for a few months but also made it difficult for him to jump onto the moving train of the NHL regular season once he was ready to return.

Just as the former first-round pick was really catching fire at the end of the year, time ran out on a Bruins team that had a few too many older veterans with empty gas tanks after being ridden hard throughout the season. Pastrnak scored goals in each of the final couple of games, and showed off the game-breaking ability that should be on full display if he's healthy and placed in a position to succeed.

His World Cup stint ended on a high note, as he played his best game of the tourney against Team USA, though he didn’t make a major impact in the elite international competition. He put on five pounds of muscle during the offseason and clearly looking bigger and stronger at 189 pounds after ending last season closer to 180.

Part of that is the natural physical maturation process for somebody Pastrnak’s age as he gain’s “man strength”, and some of it was a dedicated effort. He worked out in Boston with the B’s training staff for much of the summer for the first time in his career.

The expectation is that Pastrnak is going to be running on the right wing with David Krejci on Boston’s second line, and the search in training camp is for a left wing who can bring added playmaking ability and maybe a little size and strength to the mix. In a perfect world Krejci and Pastrnak will develop into the same dynamic, two-way combination of Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

Pastrnak and Krejci could be a lethal offensive duo to be sure, but they’ll also have to pay attention to the little details if they want to stay together playing for Julien. Perhaps with that in mind, Julien was looking to temper expectations for Pastrnak

“I don't know if [the World Cup experience] accelerates expectations. But it's certainly encouraging to see that a guy that's got that experience to go and play at that level, and made himself better,” said Julien. “We know he's skilled and we know he's fast, and he's also gotten stronger. He's taking steps in the right direction here. We can look at those guys that are first overall picks and say, wow, some guys are exceptional.

“Some of the guys, you've got to give them time to grow and develop. That's what we need to do with David Pastrnak. I think we've got to stop putting expectations too high for him, and allow him to grow properly. He's going to have some growing pains and there are still some things he's going to want to get better at. There are still some things that he's going to want to learn that we're going to want to teach him. Let's give him that opportunity to grow properly without the extra pressure and extra expectations that maybe are not realistic.”

One would argue Pastrnak put those expectations on himself when he posted the 21 goals and 55 points as an 18-year-old, but that’s neither here nor there. Instead, the Pastrnak development project can, and should, be one of the things considered when we evaluate Julien’s current ability to get the most out of his young prospect-type players.

The bottom line with Pastrnak and the Bruins is this: It’s his contract year and motivation should be sky high. The Czech youngster is one of the few people who can step up and help fill the offensive void left by the free-agent departure of Loui Eriksson. Expectations are much higher for an experienced, talented 20-year-old than they are for a wide-eyed 18-year-old, and Pastrnak needs to make a big stride forward. Now is the time for Pastrnak to show all he’s learned, and completely unleash the array of offensive skills that caught everybody’s eye in the first place.

The Bruins need Pastrnak, and young players, to step up and start taking ownership of the hockey team.

Beleskey, Spooner and McQuaid highlight Bruins lineup vs. Red Wings

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Beleskey, Spooner and McQuaid highlight Bruins lineup vs. Red Wings

The Bruins announced their lineup for the second preseason game on Wednesday night at home against the Detroit Red Wings, and it was slightly more veteran-laden than the youthful Boston group tapped for Monday night’s opening loss to the Blue Jackets.

Matt Beleskey, Ryan Spooner, Adam McQuaid and Dominic Moore lead the grizzled group of Bruins players readying for the exhibition tilt against their Atlantic Division rivals, and 19-year-old Zachary Senyshyn will make his preseason debut after getting fully medically cleared from appendectomy surgery a couple of weeks ago.

The 2015 first round pick has had a bit of a rough summer after bouts with mononucleosis and appendicitis forced him to miss Bruins rookie camp, but Senyshyn has quickly regained his strength and the blazing speed that's his biggest asset as a player. 

Austin Czarnik, Peter Mueller and Sean Kuraly are the only players from the opening night roster that will be in again to show their stuff against the Winged Wheels, and undoubtedly to get another long look from the Bruins coaching staff. Here is the full Black and Gold lineup for Wednesday night’s home date against the Red Wings with the untelevised exhibition game to be streamed on bruins.com

 

FORWARDS: Noel Acciari, Matt Beleskey, Anton Blidh, Austin Czarnik, Brian Ferlin, Jesse Gabrielle, Justin Hickman, Sean Kuraly, Dominic Moore, Peter Mueller, Zach Senyshyn, Ryan Spooner.

DEFENSEMEN: Linus Arnesson, Chris Casto, Matt Grzelcyk, Jeremy Lauzon, Adam McQuaid, Colin Miller.

GOALIES: Malcolm Subban, Daniel Vladar.