Seguin still looking for first goal of the season

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Seguin still looking for first goal of the season

RALEIGH, NC The season certainly hasnt started out the way Tyler Seguin envisioned after lighting up the Swiss League like he was being powered by rocket-fueled Toblerone bars.

In Switzerland, Seguin lit up the competition for 25 goals and 40 points in 29 games while fully admitting that the leagues focus was on skill or physicality.

Back in North America the 20-year-old prodigy is now goalless in his first four games of the season, and has only a single assist after setting up Brad Marchand against Winnipeg. Seguin also dazzled Ondrej Pavelec in the same game with a laser wrist shot to the glove side during the shootout, but has been otherwise quiet in the early going for the Black and Gold.

Hes acutely aware that he hasnt scored a goal in his team's first four games, and hes now applying the some pressure on himself to produce offensively.

Seguin is also keenly aware that Bostons 1-for-17 to start the season on the power play would likely be a much more palatable number if he was off to a torrid start offensively.

Im working on things, admitted Seguin, who had a goal and four points after his first four games last year. Ive had pressure on myself since I didnt have a goal after one period in the first game of the year. Youve just got to not get frustrated. You know when you get one that youll get a bunch, and I just need to bear down and focus on the chances Im getting. Its about just keep shooting pucks at the net.

Seguin has 11 shots on goal in the first four games, and hes had some chances to get on scoreboards. He missed an empty-net chance against the Islanders, and also saw Rick DiPietro make a pretty good stop when he flipped a bad angle shot at the goaltenders back.

So the chances have been there, and thats the good news.

One game Bergeron gave me a pass at an empty net and I just missed it. Against the Islanders I had a tough-angle shot, and the majority of the time those somehow sneak in and land on the goalies chest, said Seguin. Ive never had an empty net goal in my career in junior or the NHL. Id have to think about it at the junior level, but I dont think I ever did. It will be nice to finally get one of those.

The Bruins coaching staff and management, on the other hand, feels that the transition back to the smaller ice surfaces in North America has forced Seguin to re-adjust his game. In Switzerland, Seguin had plenty of open ice to operate on the more expansive frozen surface, and there was time and space to make plays in the attack zone. Back in the NHL, defenders are on him more quickly when hes dangling with the puck. Theres also clearly been a concerted effort by NHL defenses to pay close attention to Bostons leading scorer from last year.

When youve got a wider ice surface you have more area to spread out and work with, said coach Claude Julien. Not only that, but when youve got a bigger ice surface teams can get a little more passive. When you give Tyler that kind of time hes going to make plays.

So its a little bit tighter here and a little bit more aggressive, and hes making the adjustment. We see that. Its not from lack of will as much as its about him adjusting back to North America.

The good news for Seguin is that his line is producing with both Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron already bagging their first goals of the season. And their line continues to hold their opponents down offensively.

The team is also winning games despite Seguins modest goal-scoring drought that he hopes to end quickly as his reentry into the NHL is now almost two weeks old.

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

BOSTON – The Bruins didn’t show anything on the ice in Monday afternoon’s 4-0 matinee loss, and that’s not really any kind of an overstatement.

The scoring chances were almost nonexistent despite 32 shots on net, the second period was dreadful as the Bruins gave up three goals over the course of a six minute span and there was zero added urgency in the third period once the B’s fell behind. The emotion was missing from the drop of the puck to open the game and it never showed up once the Islanders began taking control of the game.

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It was a bitterly disappointing result after the Black and Gold had played so well in their previous five games, and put in strong, winning efforts against the Panthers, Blues and Flyers.

On Monday afternoon, the passes were sloppy and errant all over the ice, there was zero physicality and the Bruins buckled once the Isles turned the intensity up just a little bit in the second period. The game was basically over once Nikolay Kulemin snapped one home wide open from the slot area with Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid and David Krejci all blowing their defensive assignments, and then Tuukka Rask followed it up by allowing a softie to Josh Bailey from a bad angle close to net.  

So Bruins head coach Claude Julien termed it a “flat” performance once it was all over with, and openly wondered whether it was fatigue-related result linked to the compacted schedule Boston has played through this season. Monday marked the seventh straight day that the Bruins held some kind of formal skate, though most of the veteran B's players stayed off the ice during last week's Wednesday off-day practice in Nashville.   

“We were flat tonight, obviously, flat from the get-go. I think that first half of the game, we didn’t give much until they scored that first goal. We were able to stay in, but we certainly weren’t generating much ourselves, from that point of view,” said Claude Julien. “His is really the first year, for me as well, going through a condensed schedule, and I’m certainly not using that as an excuse, is it fatigue?. . . But we were flat tonight. How do you explain it? I don’t know. I know that it’s frustrating. I know that it’s disappointing. That’s all I can say.

“Whether it’s mental fatigue, whatever it is. We made some mistakes tonight like, from the goals you look at, we weren’t even in the position that we’re normally in. So we were totally out of whack, as far as even defending. When you give that first goal that much room in the middle of the ice, your D’s go on the wrong side, your weak-side forward is way on the other side, and you open up the slot area, that’s something I haven’t seen much of this year. I think it said a lot from our game tonight.”

The compacted schedule certainly could be a factor for a Bruins team that’s played more games than anybody else in the Eastern Conference to this point, but the B’s also had 48 hours to recharge after winning a Saturday matinee over the Flyers. So the fatigue excuse seems a little far-fetched for a hockey club that’s no-showed a few too many times this season, and did it again on Monday afternoon against one of the worst teams in the NHL.