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.

Cassidy: 'Trying to set a standard' of being one of the NHL's better teams

Cassidy: 'Trying to set a standard' of being one of the NHL's better teams

BOSTON – The Bruins have won seven of eight games under interim coach Bruce Cassidy and are fortifying their position as the third playoff team in the Atlantic Division with each passing victory.

The 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes at TD Garden on Tuesday night probably shouldn’t be all impressive based on the Yotes standing as the second-worst team in the NHL, but it was a classic trap game coming off a long West Coast road trip. Instead of falling for the trap the Bruins exploded for three goals in the second period, energized by a shorthanded Riley Nash strike, and continue to extend the winning stretch they need in order to punch their playoff ticket.

The postseason clincher is still a long way away from reality, but Cassidy said the B’s are starting to achieve the elevated level of play they’re aiming for while finally getting the full potential out of their team.

“I just want the guys to make sure that they play confident, solid hockey and believe in themselves. And play to a [higher] standard,” said Cassidy. “We’re trying to set a standard where we’re one of the better teams in the National Hockey League. They’ve been there before, the leadership group here. That’s where we’re striving to get through in the end.”

They haven’t exactly shied away from the competition either, twice beating the first-place San Jose Sharks and shutting out the first place Montreal Canadiens in the final straw that saw Michel Therrien axed in favor of Claude Julien.

The B’s have now opened up a three-point cushion over the Maple Leafs for their playoff spot and they’ve averaged 4.13 goals per game (33 goals in eight games) while allowing just 2.13 goals per game (17 goals in eight games) in the eight games going from Julien to Cassidy. 

The challenge now is to maintain that level of play over the final 19 games of the regular season to drive home their playoff bid and finish strong at a point where in each of the past two seasons they’ve utterly imploded.


 

Wednesday, March 1: Bruins okay with not dealing

Wednesday, March 1: Bruins okay with not dealing

Here are all the links from around the hockey world as NHL trade deadline day is upon us with no promise of fireworks in Boston.

*As referenced above, there’s a good chance the Bruins won’t be doing much today and they’re perfectly okay with that.

*Craig Custance grades every move made ahead of the trade deadline with plenty of action out of the way early.

*The Vancouver Canucks will not be trading Ryan Miller, which is smart given the normal market for No. 1 goaltenders.

*The New York Rangers lost out on the Kevin Shattenkirk rental sweepstakes at the deadline, so they’ve opted for Brendan Smith instead.

*The Florida Panthers may make a move at the deadline (which they did in acquiring Thomas Vanek) but they will not make or break their team with deadline deals.

*Doug Armstrong says that Shattenkirk was frustrated by his role with the St. Louis Blues, and that played into his trade to the Capitals.

*For something completely different: It’s a national holiday in Canada as Jay and Dan will be returning to their natural habitat.