Bruins' Seguin to start season on wing

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Bruins' Seguin to start season on wing

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

Tyler Seguin led the Bruins in goal-scoring during the preseason and pried open plenty of doubting eyes along the way.

Its pretty clear the 19-year-old is going to get his chance to jump up and seize a much larger role with the Bruins in his second NHL season. That could be a very good thing for the Bruins as a more explosive Seguin goes a long way toward alleviating some of the Stanley Cup hangover discussion.

In fact Seguin might just be the greatest hangover cure since Gatorade and greasy food were entered into the equation.

It also appears that the journey toward NHL stardom for Seguin will start at the wing spot in his second season with the Bruins a fact that Claude Julien confirmed on Monday afternoon with the caveat that could evolve during the 82-game regular season.

Seguin will use his skating speed and searing shot to create scoring chances from all over the offensive end, and likely wont hit the middle unless injuries gnaw away at the center depth piled up with David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Gregory Campbell and Chris Kelly manning the pivot. The teenager has said often that his approach doesnt change offensively whether hes playing center or wing, but it wont be surprising if Seguin shoots the puck just a little more as a winger than he might have manning the pivot.

Perhaps that could be the difference between 15 goals or 25 goals for Seguin if hes given the power play time and ice time hes made it a mission to earn this season.

Youre probably going to see a little bit of center and wing from him, said Julien when asked specifically about Seguins position. Youve got to look at what we have at center and where they are--when you have a David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly, hes such a good two-way center-man, and Gregory Campbell.

In Tylers case you dont want him playing center-man on the fourth line . . . its not the role thats suitable for him. But at the same time its also not easy for him to come in and take David Krejcis or Patrice Bergerons spot, so the chances of him playing center would be from injures along the way.

It appears Julien has also switched into regular season mode, however, as he took Seguins situation as a ripe opportunity to challenge his current group of centers should they grow lackadaisical during the season. Seguin gives the Bs coaching staff a player that could thrive as a top-six center in the NHL if circumstances were a little bit different for Boston, and that gives Julien an effective cudgel when it comes to things like effort and compete level.

The coaches switch lines along the way to get peoples attention at times (as well), said Julien. The one thing we know is that he can play both and well find him time at each spot depending on the flow of the chemistry of our team. We understand too that Seguin is a high quality player with a high level or skill. I think right now with the way hes conducted himself in training camp, hes given himself the opportunity to bring a lot more -- to play a bigger role this year. A lot of that is going to depend on Tyler and how much he wants it.

If training camp was any indication, the 19-year-old coming off a Stanley Cup-winning season wants it pretty badly.

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

Nash scores a pair of goals in Bruins 2-1 win over Islanders

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Nash scores a pair of goals in Bruins 2-1 win over Islanders

BROOKLYN, NY – The Bruins knew they needed to find stellar performances somewhere in order to come out of a must-win game vs. the Islanders with two points, and they got exactly that.

Riley Nash had his best game as a member of the Bruins with a pair of goals scored in a 2-1 win over the Islanders at the Barclays Center that snapped a four game losing streak, and pushed them back into the wild card playoff spot.

It wasn’t a perfect game for the Black and Gold by any means and it was nip-and-tuck all the way, but it was important for the Bruins to show they could pull out those kinds of games late in the season.

Things didn’t look all that great early when John Tavares cut through the Bruins defense in the first period, and whistled a wrist shot from the high slot that went through Adam McQuaid’s legs before beating Anton Khudobin. The Bruins responded, however, on the very next shift with Nash stealing the puck from Scott Mayfield in the neutral zone, and beating Thomas Greiss short side for the important game-tying goal.

It looked like the Bruins had their go-ahead score in the first period on a second-effort power play goal by Frank Vatrano, but that was wiped out by a coach’s challenge that ruled David Backes interfered with Greiss in front of the New York net.

So the Bruins needed to wait until the third period when Boston’s fourth line stepped up and won the massively important game for Boston. Dominic Moore fed Riley Nash hustling into the offensive zone, and he weaved through the Islanders defense before snapping a shot past Greiss for his second goal of the game and his seventh on the season for the Bruins. 

Bruins know they 'have to go all in' vs. Islanders to control playoff fate

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Bruins know they 'have to go all in' vs. Islanders to control playoff fate

BROOKLYN, NY – The Bruins woke up on Saturday morning and found themselves out of the playoff picture for the first time in months by virtue of the one game in hand the New York Islanders have over the Black and Gold.

That makes Saturday night’s tilt against the Isles at the Barclays Center all the more important. A win will put the Bruins back into the lead for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and a loss would further drop them out of the playoff picture. It’s the biggest game of the season for the Bruins made that much grander in scale because Tuukka Rask is suddenly out with a lower body injury, and the Bruins will need a superior effort to snap a four game losing streak that has them teetering on the brink of playoff oblivion.

With all this swirling around, the Bruins know they can seize control of their playoff destiny with a win that will send them spinning off in the right direction. A loss will…well, that’s something the B’s don’t even want to entertain at this point after collapsing down the stretch in each of the last two seasons.

“With where we’re at right now, we can’t have any moral victories. Now it’s about doing the job and bearing down. We have to go all in tonight and have a big game. Hopefully the guys understand how important of a game it is and we have a big night,” said Brad Marchand. “I think we’re all excited. This is when we love to play when the game means so much, and it has a playoff feel. We’re fighting for our lives right now. It’s a great mood in the room, so hopefully we have a big bounce back.”

While the big picture can’t possibly be ignored given what’s happened with the Bruins this week, Bruce Cassidy also cautioned that simply viewing Saturday night as a two-point game was the best technique for success. Otherwise things could become overwhelming and packed with too much pressure when it should be something the Bruins are embracing rather than dreading.

“I hope our guys are creating some positive energy out there. This time of year you just need to have that mindset that it’s one game at a time,” said Cassidy. “You don’t look back, and you stay in the moment. That’s the message that gets conveyed to the group and for the most part they’ve done a good job with that. We just need to play our game and play it well.

“I truly believe they’ll bounce back. They didn’t have their best on Thursday and I think we’ve addressed that game. I believe they’ll take a lot of pride in their game tonight. Your leaders need to lead and your followers need to follow, and that’s a recipe for success for most teams. We’re no different and I expect that to be the case [against the Islanders].”

On the other side of the coin, it will be look out below if the Bruins drop a fifth straight game and continue a downward spiral as the Leafs, Lightning and Islanders are seem to be hitting their late season stride at the same time.