By Joe Haggerty
NASHVILLE Tyler Seguin got his Welcome to the NHL blemish on Thursday when Patric Hornqvist went at the Bs center with a flying elbow.
The Predators winger nailed Seguin on the left side of his head with the elbow and ripped open Seguins left ear lobe an injury that took seven stitches to sew up and clearly registered as a significant NHL incident.
The Bruins trainers joked with Seguin that it looked like his ear lobe was about to fall off before it was sewn up.
I just saw him coming at me, I braced myself for the hit and then I felt it in my ear, said Seguin, who also added he wasnt feeling any headaches or other concussion symptoms. I came in the room and the trainer said, Nice ear lobe, it looks like its about to fall off. No headaches or anything like that. Im okay.
Hornqvist came in on Seguin as he unloaded the puck near the blueline, and threw an elbow right behind the 19-year-olds ear that is certain to get the leagues attention. Seguin was momentarily stunned after the hit, but remained in the game to log more than 12 minutes of ice time while also scoring a goal.
It was Seguins 11th goal of the season and snapped a seven-game point drought for the rookie.
The goal was a thing of beauty. Seguin and Rich Peverley combined for a speedy one-two punch on their forward line, and caused a Nashville neutral zone turnover that led to Bostons first goal.
Coach Claude Julien liked what he saw of Seguin's line, and underscored the importance of it playing extremely sound two-way hockey.
I thought he played well, skated and competed better, said Julien. We had a lot of guys competing well tonight and hopefully we can get more of that going forward.
Julien was so pleased with Seguin's play that the rookie got a helping of power play time to start the third period.
We wanted to push pucks up, especially the defensemen putting it up right away and the forwards being available, said Seguin. I felt very comfortable playing with Chris Kelly and Peverley. They help me out, theyre very fast and it makes it easy to play with them.
With Brad Marchand still out at least one game because of his suspension for the elbow he threw Tuesday night in Columbus, Seguin is enjoying the perfect time to audition for more playing time when Julien has a full compliment of players on his roster.
Andrew Ference didnt play on Thursday night, but indications are that the veteran defenseman will be ready to jump into the action soon. Ference celebrated his 32nd birthday in Nashville on Thursday.
Michael Ryder rebounded from a healthy scratch against the Columbus Blue Jackets to put a game-high seven shots on net for the Bruins in their overtime loss to the Nashville Predators. It was an up-and-down day for Ryder as he was also a minus-2, took a penalty and missed burying a chance at a short-handed breakaway but Ryder was also consistently threatening at the offensive end.
He played a lot harder tonight, said Julien. You saw him early in the game winning battles along the boards and in our own end . . . competing harder. Consequently he was a much better player for us tonight.
Patrice Bergeron scored his 22nd goal of the season, his first since a Feb. 26 win over the Vancouver Canucks -- a span of seven games in between goals for the B's hard-working two-waycenter.The Bruins have scrapped their normally-scheduled Friday practice in Toronto, and instead the B's coaching staff has opted to give his hockey club a day off prior to Saturday night's game against the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.The decision on which goaltender to choose for each remaining game of the season is getting pretty challenging for Claude Julien and the rest of his staff. The B's opted for Tuukka Rask for the second straight night on Thursday against the Predators, and Rask was solid aside from a knuckling Colin Wilson shot that eluded him in the second period.But the constant battle at this point in the season between getting Rask hot and giving Tim Thomas the proper amount of rest prior to the playoffs is proving to be a quite delicate balance."It's the million dollar question, I guess," said Julien. "As a coach you weigh the pros and cons. We have a good goaltender who has been good for us all year, but has needed some rest. At the same time you don't want him to get rusty, but you balance things out. At the same time you have a guy that's playing better and better, and you want to keep him going."The one thing we've made sure is that everybody understands. We want to make sure we're on the same page. It's good to get input from the two goalies. That's how we've handled. The way I look at it as long as you have two good goaltenders, you really can't go wrong."