One underrated aspect to Tyler Seguins lockout time spent over in Switzerland was the opportunity it gave him time to compare shootout notes with dangerous Blackhawks sniper Pat Kane.
The two were teammates in Biel, and many wondered if the notorious Kane would be a negative off-ice influence on Seguin. But the 20-year-old unsheathed a nasty little Kane-ish glove-side sniper shot in the extra session on Monday afternoon that helped push the Bruins to a 2-1 shootout win over the Winnipeg Jets at TD Garden.
So clearly the on-ice Kane influence was pretty good.
Patrice Bergerons shootout score was the ultimate deciding strike when he tucked a puck through Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec's five-hole, but it was Seguins nasty little scoring maneuver that set the tone.
Ive been doing it for a while, I just havent really done it in a game. Patrick Kane does it better than me for sure, it was pretty cool to watch him do it in Switzerland, said Seguin. I knew the whole way I wanted to go glove, I hadnt decided if I was going to go with speed or without speed until I really picked up the puck in the shootout. I just decided to slow it down and thats how it worked out.
Pavelec looked like a deer-in-headlights as Seguin slowed to a crawl on his shootout rush, and then flicked the biscuit inside the post to the glove-side with nary a reaction from the goaltender. It was a new strategy and a different tact from Seguin, who has already become an accomplished performer in the shootout over the last two seasons.
But rather than relying on speed and dazzling athleticism to overpower the goaltender as in the recent past, he slowed things down and owned the goalie's glove hand.
I just havent really had the guts to do it in an actual shootout. I think Ive done a lot of shootouts since Ive come here and most of them, I usually like to use my speed, said Seguin, who also assisted to Brad Marchand on Bostons only goal of the game in the first period when he picked off an errant clear attempt inside Winnipegs defensive zone. But youve got to mix it up, because theres video these days and people looking around. So Ive got a few more that Im willing to try.
Seguin led the Bruins with six shootout scores (6-for-12 good for 50 percent success rate) and four game-deciding shootout goals last season, and looks well on his way to doing that again this year. Overall the Bruins were 9-3 in shootouts last year in their first successful shootout season in recent history. That will be a big advantage for the Black and Gold again this year if they can uphold that trend in a shortened campaign where every point matters so significantly.
That is provided Seguin keeps digging into his bag of tricks and coming up with offensive moves that make other NHL goaltenders like just as hopelessly helpless as Pavelec did on Monday afternoon.