Bruins notes: Seguin's learning curve continues

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Bruins notes: Seguin's learning curve continues

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

VANCOUVER Tyler Seguin dazzled in the opening few games of the conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and showed exactly what all of the fuss was about.

No matter what happens for the rest of the playoff run, the four-point second period in Game Two against Tampa Bay will go down as the first real moment Seguin had during his Bruins career. The problem with having those kinds of moments: people come to expect them much more often.

Seguin has gone scoreless in the six games since putting on a show against the Lightning in Game Two, and registered the lowest ice time total of his playoff experience in Game One of the Cup Finals against the Canucks. The 19-year-old got power play time and got a few shifts early in the game to get into the flow of things, but was nowhere to be found on the ice in the third period when things started tightening up against Vancouver.

Bs coach Claude Julien noticeably cut the ice time in a tight playoff game, so naturally the questions of Whats Wrong with Seguin? rolled around on Fridays media availability at the University of British Columbia practice facility.

The quick and easy answer from Julien: nothing at all aside from the normal learning process due a young player in his first playoff experience.

I don't think there's any specific reason. There are a lot of guys that have gone scoreless in those six games as well, said Julien. He's 19 years old. We don't expect him to carry our team on his back.

After the first two games in Tampa, they certainly were respectful of him a lot more than they were in the first two games, they realized the damage he could make happen. Good players have to find ways to fight through that. This is the opportunity that Tyler has to gain even more experience in regards to that.

The Bruins could definitely use another Seguin offensive explosion against a Canucks team that marks the fastest hockey team theyve encountered in the playoffs, and its that possibility that will keep him in the Boston lineup. Seguin wasnt a part of the four-minute power play in the first period that enjoyed some pretty solid pressure against Vancouver, but needs more than a minute of power play ice time to put together a scoring chance or two.

That will be Seguins challenge heading into Game Two, and Seguins teammates think he should be up to the ask if called upon.

He's handled it really well, said Milan Lucic. Obviously his situation is a lot different than mine being a second overall pick compared to me, who surprised a lot of people by just making the team. He had a lot of expectations coming in, a lot of people around him.

Our leadership group and our veteran players have helped him mature throughout the season. I think a sign of that was you see how he responded after sitting out the first two series of the playoffs. He was able to step in and play the way that he did. He was professional about it. He wasn't pouting that he wasn't in the lineup. He wasn't being a bad guy because he wasn't in the lineup. He understood what was going on. It's great to see him grow as a player and as a person, as an 18-year-old turning 19. Looking back how I dealt with it, it's kind of the same way.

No matter what happens over the next six games against the Canucks, the experience earned by Seguin in this playoff run will serve both him and the Bruins well for years and years to come.

The Bruins and Milan Lucic didnt seem to have a big problem with the big Dan Hamhuis hit in the second period of Game One that flipped Bostons power forward upside down on his way to the ice. It could have been a lot more dangerous had Lucic landed on his neck rather than his back, but instead Hamhuis was the player injured as a result of the collision.

It's the first time I've ever actually been hit like that and gone all the way over, said Lucic. It's obviously unfortunate for the Canucks that Hamhuis got hurt. If it was late, it was late. But you can't change anything from what happened in it.

Brad Marchand got speared near the benches in the second period and took a reactionary holding penalty in Game One against the Canucks that could have been costly. The Bs penalty kill managed to stymie the Vancouver power play, but both coach and player thats one mistake that cant be made too often in this series.

I think we have to be disciplined no matter what. Marchand is part of that too. Obviously the penalty he took wasn't a good penalty in Game One, said Julien. We know that's happened at times with Brad with the type of game that he plays. We certainly want him to improve in that area and minimize those kinds of things.

But he understands. He knows once he does it, he takes ownership for it.

We keep talking about discipline, even if we didn't let them score in the power-play last game, they still have a potent power-play. We have to make sure that our penalties are good ones and most set of times when they're good ones, you end up killing them.

Zdeno Chara said that part of the joy of being paired with Dennis Seidenberg during the playoffs is the endless endurance supply both players seem to have in common and the common conditioning practices that allow both to log high ice time minutes throughout the playoffs.

Perhaps its a European thing, or perhaps its just two players thoroughly dedicated to their craft.

Its very exciting. He's a very steady defenseman. He really picked up his game, especially offensively, logging a lot of minutes, playing all the situations, said Zdeno Chara. We are both same, I would say, as far as off-ice workouts. We like to do always extra, being fit. He's just one of those guys that's been really fun to play with.

Theres been a careful balance of give-and-take between work and rest for Milan Lucic during his time in Vancouver the Stanley Cup Final, and its been closely watched by the Bruins staff. The natural tendency would be to overwhelm a guy in his hometown with media requests and scores of interviews, but Lucic himself said hell be around Vancouver after the season is over to catch up those wanting to touch base with him.

I think it's a give-and-take. You have to understand that Lucic in his hometown. Certainly you want to please those people to a certain extent, but at the same time you don't want it to be a detriment to his preparation and rest and everything else, said Julien. Our media guys have done a pretty good job of balancing that out. He does a little bit of both: get the rest that he needs and does as much as he can to please the people from around here.

From the Bruins' P.R. department:

Black and Gold fever has hit the city of Boston with monster truck force, and that apparently includes the landmarks around the Hub starting this weekend. The Bruins and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) are proud to partner with OSRAM SYLVANIA, North America's leading lighting company, to light Boston's landmark Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge beginning Friday, June 3.

Forty-eight lights that line the Zakim Bridge will be converted to gold to celebrate the Boston Bruins participation in the Stanley Cup Final. The Zakim Bridge will remain gold throughout the Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Final run.

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

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

BOSTON – The Bruins simply weren’t ready to play on Thursday night when the puck was dropped against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

They fell down quickly by a 2-0 score, had a couple of completely inept power plays in the first period that sucked all the game’s momentum away from them and received some subpar goaltending from Anton Khudobin on the way to a 4-2 loss to the lowly Avs. About the only B’s person above reproach in this one was David Pastrnak after scoring a pair of goals in the second period to get Boston back into the game, but it all fell short in a very frustrating, lackadaisical loss to a Western Conference team that isn’t very good. 

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Needless to say B’s coach Claude Julien wasn’t too happy after a loss where the Bruins might have had more success with a smarter approach to holding the puck. 

“There were a lot of problematic things [in the loss]. No doubt that the power play could have helped us in the first period, and failed to do that. They’ve got to be better,” said Julien. “We needed some saves tonight, and we didn’t get them. [Anton Khudobin] has got to be better. 

“A lot of things here that we can be better at, and take responsibility [for]. But at the same time, you got to move on here.  It’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, we would have had a chance.”

Clearly it was about a lacking group effort when dissecting the loss, and the minus-3 for David Krejci on Thursday night marked back-to-back negative performances from the playmaking Czech center in big spots. The goaltending was shoddy with Anton Khudobin allowing four goals on 22 shots for Colorado, and unable to make plays on a couple of Colorado shots from outside the painted area that built up the Avs lead in the first place. 

But it was also very much about the inability of the Bruins to generate consistent offense outside of David Pastrnak’s offensive burst in the second period, and the complete breakdown of the Boston power play in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins struggled to enter the zone in their first PP possession of the game, and then allowed a Nathan MacKinnon shorthanded goal after Torey Krug futilely dove at the blue line to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone. 

The Krug misplay at the offensive blue line gave MacKinnon a clear path the net, and he buried a wrist shot past Khudobin to get the one-sided loss rolling. Beyond the costly mistakes that ended up in the back of the net, the Bruins looked sloppy and slow-reacting in their breakouts and more than willing to settle for outside perimeter shots.

That doesn’t exactly make for a winning combo even when it comes against a flawed, underachieving team like Colorado, and especially when it comes less than 24 hours after a hard-fought road game in Washington DC. 

“I think we were still sleeping there early in the game and they were able to capitalize on their opportunities. We couldn’t claw our way back,” said Brad Marchand, who picked up an assist on David Pastrnak’s second goal of the night on a perfect dish for the one-timer. “I think it was definitely a mental [block]. You’re able to battle through that physical fatigue. It was more the mental mistakes and not being prepared right off the hop of the start of the game. Again, that’s kind of where we lost it.”

The sleepwalking Bruins lost Thursday night’s valuable two points as soon as the opening puck was dropped against the Avalanche, of course, and the Bruins never got out of lollygag mode at a time when intensity should have been automatic.