Bruins notes: Seguin shines despite limited ice time

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Bruins notes: Seguin shines despite limited ice time

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Tyler Seguin certainly experiencedsome extreme ups and downs in his first NHL playoff experience, but theres one thing that almost everyone can agree on: There probably should have been a lot more Seguin in Saturday night's 5-2 loss to the Lightning.The 19-year-old wunderkind scored the Bruins' first goal and finished as their only multipoint performer in their 5-2 loss at TD Garden. He clocked in at just under a measly 10 minutes of ice time, but his contributions were titanic.Well, we had a lot of penalty kills and power plays and right now Im not in that loop," said Seguin about his limited ice time. "So I was just trying to stay ready on the bench and try to motivate that guys and in my next shift just be ready."
He had a good game. I thought when he had his chance, he took advantage of it and scored, said coach Claude Julien. Obviously he had a lot of energy tonight and excitement in his game, so he was a good player for us.

The energy was certainly the thing for the No. 2 overall pick after hed waited more than a month to get back into the lineup. He watched the first two rounds of this years postseason from the press box, and was raring to go.
His goal blunted some of Tampa Bay's momentum after the Bolts had jumped out to a 3-0 lead. He took a pass from Michael Ryder and went crossing over the blue line with some speed. Seguin turned on the jets in the offensive zone to split Marc-Andre Bergeron and Mike Lundin, while leaving a spinning, out-of-control Lundin behind him in the slot area while he cut back against the grain for a one-on-one attempt. After dusting the Tampa Bay defense, Seguin beat Dwayne Roloson with a lower right corner shot that capped off a highlight reel offensive play."The goal was definitely a bit of a relief. I think coming in the first period, I was definitely very excited, said Seguin. I found myself running around just a little bit just because I had so much legs I guess. After I had that goal, it was a bit of a sigh of relief and I could be more poised out there.The goal stopped the bleeding and put the Bruins back in the game, somewhat, at 3-1, but they never totally erased the deficit in a game that featured too many mistakes."Yeah, its frustrating, But its a lot better than being up in the stands where you cant contribute at all," said Seguin. "At least there I could be out with the boys and motivating everyone. Everyone was trying to keep their heads high that point. We were running into a lot of PKs and a lot of power plays and trying to get one there before the end of the second. But it didnt work out."Amazingly, Seguin still managed only two shifts and 1:51 of ice time in the second period, as Julien and the other coaches apparently decided that hisoffensive skill, speed and passablegrit were not needed ingredients. The skills and his newfound willingness to aggressively pursue his shot are exactly the kind of things that are woefully missing from Boston's power play, but Julien said "no comment" when asked about Seguin and the 0-for-4PP following the game.The 19-year-old also admitted he wasnt always the most attentive player to detail in his personal life during the course of the season, but he certainly appears to be locked in for the playoffs. Thats why Julien after some healthy second-guessing by the Bruins fans courtesy of the Versus telecast finally inserted Seguin for a regular shiftalong with Chris Kelly and Brad Marchand during the final 20 minutes.

Seguin responded again to his coachs show in confidence by blasting Lundin with a heavy hit along the boards later on in the game, and assisting on Johnny Boychuks third-period strike that took a fortuitous bounce off a Tampa defensemans skate.Seguin could be the guy in danger of hitting the bench once Patrice Bergeron returns to the fold, but that really didn't seem like it should be the case given the way his speed and skill can help against a Lightning team brimming with both qualities.

The Bruins were spanked commandingly in the faceoff circle throughout the game. David Krejci lost 15 out of 18 faceoff draws Saturday night, and the team won only 26 of 47 in a one-sided beating on the dot.Its so important to start with the puck," said Julien. "When you dont win as many draws as youre used to, youre backpedaling a little bit and those lost draws, and we know how quickly they counter. It certainly didnt help our game tonight.SeveralBruins players that spoke with CSNNE.com afterGame One indicated they thought Patrice Bergeron might be ready to play as early as Game Two on Tuesday night given how well he's progressing from his "mild concussion." No definites given his chance to suffer a setback in the next two days, but it appears the center'sreturn will be sooner rather than later. Bergeron was missed greatly in all three zones during the first game against Tampa Bay.

Stat holds true to form after Game 1 of the series: Bruins are 6-0 when they score first this postseason and the Lightning are an impressive 8-0 when they score first. That means the Bolts are 1-3 in four games during these playoffs when they dont get on the board first.

Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson becomes the first goalie to win eight straight playoff games since Hall of Fame goalie Jacques Plante in 1969.

Lightning head coach Guy Boucher has continuously heaped praise on Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas throughout the series, and the Tampa head stayed consistent by lionizing Thomas. It didnt matter that the Bs netminder had allowed three goals in the span of 85 seconds, including a soft backhanded bid to Brett Clark for the Bolts second goal, in the first period.Tim Thomas is going to make miracles, said Boucher. I would be shocked if he doesnt come back with his best game of the playoffs. They came back in the first series, from two games. Its only one game, weve done nothing yet.

Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves with Derek Boogaard on multiple occasions throughout his career and Shane Hnidy was a teammate of the New York Rangers enforcer, who was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment on Friday morning. Hnidy said that the death was hitting him hard, and it was clear he had a lot of respect for the 6-foot-8, 28-year-old Boogie Man.

The hockey community is so tight that its always felt in the players, coaches and even the media when something like this happens, said Hnidy. But its tough when it happens to a teammate, or somebody that youve played with. It hit me pretty hard last night.

TD Garden officials observed a moment of silence for Boogaard prior to the game in a very nice show of respect for the late Rangers tough guy.

Julien said Marc Savard is scheduled to come down from Peterborough, Ontario to Boston during the series.

"Im not quite sure exactly what day or which game, but hes supposed to come down, said Julien. No doubt hes a part of our hockey club. Hes always welcome here anytime he wants to come down. Id be happy to see him if thats the case.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Haggerty: Signs of panic starting to show as losses mount for B's

Haggerty: Signs of panic starting to show as losses mount for B's

BOSTON -- For the third straight season, the Bruins are showing all the ugly, telltale signs of a hockey club poised to take a nosedive out of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The short-attention span Bruins returned in a 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night at TD Garden, and proceeded to blow three one-goal leads in the second period before totally collapsing in the final 20 minutes of the game. Three unanswered third goals later, the Bruins were understandably downtrodden and accountable for a performance that kicked up so many bad memories from the last couple of seasons.

“We all have to look at ourselves in the mirror and we can’t point fingers. Everyone has to step up and if every guy is going to do their job, including myself, then the rest will follow, you know?” said David Krejci. “But we hadn’t done that [against Tampa Bay] at all. The last two games against Toronto and Ottawa, I thought we worked hard. But for whatever reason [against Tampa] – maybe we thought it was going to come easy – we just shot ourselves in the foot.

“Like I said, each player has to be better, including myself, and if we don’t look at ourselves in the mirror that’s what’s going to happen. We’ll be losing and we need to win games. We have a team, we all believe, we know we can play well. We know we can win hockey games. We have a great game plan, but [against Tampa] I guess we just thought it was going to come easy.”

Even worse there were clear signs of panic in Boston’s game as things unfolded in an unsightly manner on the Garden ice.

Clearly it wasn’t about talent on Thursday night, and instead it was about focus, concentration and paying attention to the fine details that can come back to haunt you late in the season. The Bruins scored three goals in the second period with David Pastrnak, Zdeno Chara and Riley Nash each lighting the lamp, but it took 44 seconds, 24 seconds and 1 minute, 35 seconds respectively in the second period for the Bolts to things up.

That’s the kind of instant buckling and crumbling under pressure we’ve seen in the past from the Bruins late in seasons, and we’re seeing it again despite a different coach and some new, hard-nosed players like David Backes. That lack of composure combined with a pinch of panic is a potentially disastrous mix for the Black and Gold, just as it has been for the last three years.

“Those follow up shifts need to be our best shifts of the game. They’re when you can either bury a team, or when you get scored on to have a great response, and to show that you’re not going away [if you’re the team trailing]. I don’t think they were our best shifts. They were probably some of our least [effective] in the form of execution, least form of desperation and fortitude to just impose what we’re going to do on the other team.

[Tampa] certainly made good on their chances, there’s no question about that. But I think we led into them way too much and the result is the result that we don’t get points again. We’re four [losses] in a row here, but this needs to stop Saturday [against the Islanders] or the bleeding starts to get profuse after that. The guys are in this room. We know it. We’ve seen it. We need to look in the mirror.”

It goes beyond a thoroughly gross second period, however.

The Bruins last line of defense, No. 1 goaltender Tuukka Rask, crumbled in the second and third period as things were falling apart around him. Anton Stralman beat him high to the short-side, glove side for the game-tying goal on a transition play, and Jonathan Drouin snapped one past him from the face-off circle that dipped under his glove hand for the game-winner.

It was a soft, inexcusable goal allowed in a hugely important game, and was part of five goals allowed on 28 shots for the former Vezina Trophy winner. After the game Rask seemed frazzled, his voice getting soft and trailing off when it was his turn to accept responsibility for a giant stink bomb tossed down on the Garden ice.

“You have to [pick up the team]. A lot of the time that’s the case, the goalie has to make a couple extra stops there and today I didn’t,” said Tuukka Rask. “That’s part of my job to accept the fact that sometimes it’s your fault. There were a couple of times I should’ve made the save, but it happens sometimes…”

The high pressure situation with things spiraling out of control even seemed to be getting to their best, most established players with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand forcing things down a goal in the third period. Bergeron and Marchand were put back together with David Pastrnak in the second and third periods with Bruce Cassidy looking for answers, and they attempted to execute a D-zone face-off play that’s worked a few times for them in the last few years.

It involves Bergeron winning the draw, and then either Marchand or Pastrnak immediately releasing for a home run pass that can turn into a breakaway opportunity if the opponent is caught napping. Tampa Bay wasn’t caught unaware when the B’s tried it in the middle of the third period, but then Bergeron and Co. kept trying to make it happen.

They ended up icing the puck multiple times trying to make the goal happen in one quick play rather than working for the tying goal, and it killed any momentum they could have possibly started building up for a third period comeback. It also showed a fundamental lack of confidence that they could scratch and claw their way back in on Thursday night, and that’s a definite cause for concern at this time of year.

“At the end of the day, it is a focus, and it’s urgency, and it’s understanding time and score. We did not have a good comprehension of that tonight, I don’t think, and of late,” said Cassidy. “We’ve let games get away, and you can look back, even this year, we’ve had some goals scored against us late throughout the course of the year. It’s been built in this year, and we’re still fighting through it, to be perfectly honest.

“It’s a mindset that we’ve just got to get harder and understand the stakes, and what’s required after you score a goal. I think winning teams get through that, and we’re fighting through it this year. Some nights, we’ve been good at it. We’ve had resiliency, I think. It’s just, lately, it’s creeping in, and we’ve got to nip it in the bud now.”

It hasn’t been just the young players at the heart of this four-game losing streak, and the Tampa loss should have been a wakeup call that the Bruins veterans need to find a way to step up their focus, their effort level and their composure at this time of year. After their fourth loss in a row, the Bruins have frittered away whatever margin for error they once had with just eight games remaining in the regular season.

Their next wrong move will cause a nosedive straight out of the playoffs for the third year in a row, and that will spell changes far and wide on Causeway Street for the Boston Bruins.
 

Bruin players talk the talk after failing to walk the walk vs. Lightning

Bruin players talk the talk after failing to walk the walk vs. Lightning

BOSTON -- All the Bruins -- the leaders and the core veteran group -- were front and center on Thursday night, taking accountability for what had just happened on the ice.

It was ugly: Boston frittered away three one-goal leads in the second period and then came totally unglued in the third period, allowing three consecutive goals in a 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden. There were moments when focus and concentration were clearly an issue, and other moments when the Bruins lacked their usual discipline with veteran players were taking some ill-advised penalties.

With pressure mounting as the Bruins, losers of four in a row, appear to be headed towards their third consecutive late-season collapse out of the playoffs, the players were saying all the right things while vowing to move forward with eight games left.

"I think it's not good enough from top to bottom," said David Backes. "I'll be the first guy to point fingers at my chest and say I need to be better. Tonight was certainly not our best when it's that time of year [and] you need your best every night to win, no matter who you're playing against or what the circumstances may be. This one certainly hurts . . .

"But now's not the time to not be giving ourselves a chance to win and we need to be doing that every night. Tonight, we didn't and we've got eight games left and they all need to be really good-to-great ones so that we can find our way into these playoffs."

Backes finished a minus-2 with just a single shot on net and seemed a step behind Tampa Bay most of the game, so it was proper to him to call himself our for personal ineffectiveness. But as interim coach Bruce Cassidy put it, responsibility for Thursday night -- the low point of the Bruins' season -- rests on "Player 1 through Player 20". And all 20 of the Bruins will be needed to find a successful way out.