Seguin finds a home at the top

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Seguin finds a home at the top

BOSTON -- Its only been two games, but its looking like Tyler Seguin has found a home on the Bruins top line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

The trio hasn't enjoyed the explosive scoring stretch that Marchand and Bergeron had last season when they were finally paired with Mark Recchi in the month of January, but it would take an act of the hockey gods to break up a group of forwards that seem made for each other.

Clearly Seguin is a phenomenon to himself as a 19-year-old mega-prospect finally coming into his own after getting tapped as the No .2 overall pick in the draft last summer, but he also knows that he needs skilled players like Bergeron and Marchand to compliment his offensive game. Both Bergeron and Marchand can help finish off Seguins creative play on the ice, and all three skate with the kind of speed, force and suffocating tenacity that far outweigh any downside.

I like playing with Bergeron and Seguin. I thought we played well together and really clicked out on the ice in the offensive zone, said Marchand. If we play like that consistently then hopefully were going to be a dangerous line, and that will allow us to stay together.

Seguin was good in a combination with Milan Lucic because he really forced the power forward to get his feet moving more quickly, and a pairing with Chris Kelly allowed the Bs two-way center to cover for some of his defensive inefficiencies along the way.

But the newly reconfigured gold line can effectively fore-check with speed and force, gives Seguin a pair of consistent finishers in Bergeron and Marchand and provides Seguin with the perfect lead-by-example player like Bergeron.

Everybody saw what happened in the second period against the Sens earlier this week when Seguin found Bergeron with a good-looking drop-back pass and the longtime Bs center showed the ability to pounce all over plays created by the second-year Seguin. Its no coincidence that Bergeron and Seguin are shooting the puck with more frequency than anybody else in the Black and Gold uniform, and that could be a dynamite playmaking combo moving forward.

Ive bounced around lines, and I never know what sticks and what doesnt, said Seguin. But Im going to just play my role and try to create chemistry with my linemates. Bergeron and Marchand both have great speed and were 1-1 as a team when were together. So we feel good as a line, and Im just stepping in trying to create speed and playmaking skills.

Theres plenty of long range wondering about Seguin as well with any number of trades potentially opening up a top-six roster spot for somebody hungering for a regular NHL job. Hypothetically any deals could open Seguin up for a chance to be one of the top two centers on the Bruins as early as this season, but it appears the Bruins are happy to have Seguin skating up and down the wall on the right wing. The daily responsibilities of a center are something Seguin will slowly or rapidly become accustomed to along with every other part of his game.

The long-range plans for Seguin are legion in Boston, and they include a great many things from the center position. But dont expect that move to the middle to come down this season permanently, and instead count on the youngster to form one of the most exciting lines in hockey alongside Marchand and Bergeron.

Krug: Bruins collapse 'is not going to happen this year'

Krug: Bruins collapse 'is not going to happen this year'

BOSTON – Having lost three games in a row for the first time under Bruce Cassidy at time of year when you can’t drop into losing streaks, Bruins fans clearly want some sense of surety when it comes to the B’s making the playoffs.

Well, they got an ironclad guarantee from Torey Krug after he was the best B’s player on the ice in a 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden. Krug has been a part of the teams that collapsed in each of the past two seasons and the puck-moving defenseman said things are going to be different this time around with nine games to go.

“I haven’t thought about it, I haven’t talked about it. It’s a different feeling this year. [A collapse] is not going to happen this year. I know we’ve got a lot of pride in this room,” said Krug, who elevated his game and scored on a nifty, Bobby Orr-esque one-man rush up the ice in the third period. He also had a team-high seven shots on net and led the B’s in ice time in the loss. “The guys that have been through it. There’s no other option except making sure we stay on course and take care and do our jobs.

“You feel like you played pretty well and things didn’t go your way. You make a big mistake and it cost you. You got to realize what’s done is done, and we have an important task on Thursday [vs. the Lightning]. We’ve got to come to the rink with no other option except winning that game. That’s the mindset we’ve got to have.”

The Black and Gold are still in a pretty good position when it comes to the playoffs, even if their lead over Toronto in the Atlantic Division is precarious right now. But it ultimately comes down to Boston summoning against Tampa Bay and the Islanders what they didn’t, or couldn’t, against Toronto and Ottawa, and making good on Krug’s defiant words following a bitter defeat. 


 

Bruins hope familiar lack of finish isn't cropping up again

Bruins hope familiar lack of finish isn't cropping up again

BOSTON – Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The Bruins outshot an opponent, lost and then lamented their lack of finish on a bevy of scoring plays while begrudgingly tipping their hats to a hot goaltender.

It was the scenario for many disappointing losses in the first 55 games of the season under Claude Julien, and it was a little too eerily reminiscent in a 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden on Tuesday night. 

Certainly it’s just one game and there has been far too much good as of late to believe the Bruins are cannon-balling into a pool of previous bad habits. But giving up a goal in the second period while watching Craig Anderson make 18 second-period saves at the other end of the ice was a stark reminder of the bad old days.

“We struggled up in Ottawa getting through [the neutral zone], tonight I thought we did a better job,” said Torey Krug. “A win against that system is just getting the puck behind them and going in on the fore-check. We’ll take that every time. We did well, but we’ve got to find a way to get more goals on the scoreboard.”

Certainly there some stellar saves: A flashy glove hand on a Noel Acciari backhander from the slot and a couple of stops on Frank Vatrano in tight around the net come to mind. But there were also some light, perimeter play kind of nights from Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak where the turnovers (a combined eight giveaways between the two forwards) and loose play were coming fast and furious.

That’s the stuff that needs to improve after watching Ottawa score on three redirections with bodies camped in front of the net.

“There are some,” admitted Bruce Cassidy when asked about parallels to some darker days earlier in the season. “Some of it you have to give credit to the goaltender you’re playing. Look at his numbers, he’s been very good. I’m not going to look too far back. I think we had good looks off the rush – he [Craig Anderson] made saves. We did have our D come late, get a couple of good looks, and that’s something we’ve really worked on. We had a D join and score. That was actually a nice individual score. So, those parts of our game, I think, it just ebbs and flows over the course of the year where you run into hot goaltending and you have to stay with it.

“That’s when you have to keep the puck out of your net. [In Toronto], we were right there until two minutes to go where even though we weren’t scoring, we were in a position to get points. [Against the Senators] it was a breakdown right after we scored, so I think the focus has to be when you’re having tough luck around the net, you need to get points. And maybe these games end up 1-1, 2-2, they’re going into shootouts or overtime and you accumulate your points that way. I think that’s where the last two games have been disappointing. You know, we should have had points. It may not have been wins, but we should have been there at the end and playing 65 minutes, or whatever it took to finish it.”

The silver lining, of course, is that the Bruins didn't get bogged down in Guy Boucher's 1-3-1 trap and were able to dictate play a bit more while never actually leading in the game. But that does little good when won-loss results and points in the coffers are all that matters in the final weeks. 

Perhaps some of the offensive scale-back in the past few games has been by design after letting up seven goals to Edmonton in the Western Canada road finale, but it’s also about being tougher and more determined around the net.

Ottawa won that net-front battle on Tuesday night and subsequently won the hockey game, so it’s time for the Bruins to do that exact thing if they want better results vs. the Lightning and Islanders later this week.