By Joe Haggerty
NEW YORK Tyler Seguin finished with no power-play minutes for the first time in several weeks, and managed just a sliver over eight minutes of ice time in Bostons 5-3 loss to the Rangers Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
Seguin has been very active on the power play and patient with the puck when its on his stick, but he needs to keep moving, flinging the stick and carving out a role for himself on a good playoff team.
I cant say that hes in. I cant say that hes out, said coach Claude Julien, referring to Seguin's playoff participation. Theres still some time to see him. The one thing I can tell you is that the last month or month-and-a-half hes taken some strides while feeling more confident in his game.
Its a good sign. You dont question his skill level, but hes got to have confidence he can go in the corners and come out with the puck. You dont need to see him running over guys, but you want to see him get into the corners a little bit.
Its a tough pill to swallow for Seguin as he has watched his ice time again diminish a bit after hed seemingly carved out a role for himself. But it appears this rookie season is all about proving himself to his teammates and coaching staff over and over again, and perhaps that will continue with taking a seat to start the playoffs.If one were to judge which B's forward would potentially get the seat to start things off, it might just be thatSeguin wasgiven the low 5-on-5 ice time and zero power play time in a harbinger of a healthy scratch or two to come if they match up against the Rangers. Count Julien among those who feel Tim Thomas not only should be a shoo-in for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's best goalie, but also should be strongly considered for the Hart Trophy as most valuable player.
I think hed have to be a real strong candidate for us in regard to that. More so in the way the game is played today, said Julien. Goalies seem to be focused a lot of times. We understand how important goalies are given how stingy goal-scoring is at this point.
Goaltenders make a difference in games, and just look at the starts at the end of the game.
Chris Kelly scored his first goal as a member of the Bruins. It took Kelly 21 games to get on the board, though he had several close chances over the last month.
Milan Lucic took a puck to the face during warm-ups on Monday night after a shot took an errant bounce off the post, but he was fixed up with a handful of stitches just a few minutes prior to the games start.
Lucic was on the ice for the start of the game, and picked up an assist on Nathan Hortons first-period goal.
Daniel Paille once again enjoyed a good night as things were falling apart around him for the rest of the Bruins team. He fired off four shots on net, and scored Bostons first goal when he created pressure on a breakaway. Paille scored on the same shift when he got to the front of the net and then redirected a Johnny Boychuk shot pass from the right point past Henrik Lundqvist.
Thats three goals in six games for Paille, who was one of the few Bs players that continued working hard long after his fellow forwards started slacking in the 5-3 defeat to the Rangers.
Thats where it needs to be right now, said Paille. Thats my focus right now is to keep playing hard, but wins mean a lot more to us right now.
Kirk Luedeke from New England Hockey Journal first reported that Bs prospects Jared Knight and Ryan Spooner have both signed with the Bruins and will play the final three games of the regular season with the AHLs Providence Bruins as their professional debuts. Both players just recently finished up their junior hockey careers.