Notes: Seguin still trying to prove himself

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Notes: Seguin still trying to prove himself

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

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.

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

B's determined to 'keep it going' during good offensive run

B's determined to 'keep it going' during good offensive run

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- The Bruins are going through a nice, little bountiful stretch of offense right now after a half-season of struggle.

The Bruins are averaging more than three goals per game in their last 12 contests, and have scored a whopping 22 goals in their last six games including dropping six scores on the Flyers Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. Combine that with the 7-for-25 performance on the power play during the month of January, and things are finally starting to catch up with a Bruins team that was all shoot/no score for months of frustrating hockey this season.

“If you want sustained success then you have to be good defensively, but you also have to score some goals. That’s definitely part of it and we have to keep it going,” said Patrice Bergeron, who has four goals and eight points in his last nine games after struggling out of the starting gate. “You’re not going to get rewarded every night like we did [against the Flyers], but you have to find that consistency where you’re close to having that every night.”

One thing nobody should expect out of the B’s, however, is to get outside of what they do well now that they’ve started slapping some numbers up on the board. Instead the Bruins are intent on their bedrock of disciplined defense and sensational goaltending with the added offense just making it much tougher to beat them these days.

“I don’t know if we can stand here and say we’re going to sustain that we’re scoring lots of goals. I think what we need to sustain here is winning more games than we lose,” said Claude Julien. “That’s what we’ve got to sustain. Whether it’s a 1-0 or 2-1 game, or it’s a 5-2 or 5-3 game it doesn’t really matter. It’s about winning hockey games much more than it’s about how much you scored, and how much you don’t score.

“Overall when I look at the scoring chances we’re giving up per game, that doesn’t seem to have changed. Goals allowed may have changed a little bit lately, but overall I think we’ve been very steady in that area [of defense].”

So now the Bruins will again be looking for that ideal balance of offense/defense when they take the ice against the Islanders on Monday afternoon for their second straight matinee at TD Garden. 

Morrow has 'confident feeling' as he readies to jump into B's lineup

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Morrow has 'confident feeling' as he readies to jump into B's lineup

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It’s been a long month of bag skates and lonely practices for Bruins defenseman Joe Morrow.

That’s about to change thanks to injuries to both Kevan Miller and Colin Miller, who are both not expected to be able to play against the New York Islanders on Monday afternoon at TD Garden. That means Morrow will be in the B’s lineup for the first time since a Dec. 12 win over the Montreal Canadiens, a span of 16 consecutive B’s games that the 24-year-old has been watching from the press box.

Morrow skated in a pairing with John-Michael Liles in Sunday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena prior to Monday’smatinee, and obviously he’s looking forward to getting back into games given this season’s sporadic practice schedule.

“[Playing well after sitting for long stretches] isn’t necessarily something you want to be good at, but if you are good at then it’s a good tool to have in your bag. It’s a confident feeling that I’ll be able to come in [and play well],” said Morrow, who has an assist and a minus-3 rating in 13 games for the Black and Gold this season. “I’ve stayed in good shape and worked hard in practice, and that’s all I can do up until this point.

“Put simply, [this year’s compacted schedule] is exhausting. Countless times I’ve skated by myself, and anybody would tell you there’s nothing harder than skating by yourself on a sheet of ice. Mentally and physically it’s just exhausting. There haven’t been many practices and there haven’t been many game-type situations in the practices we do have. Skating with the whole team is almost like a pregame skate scenario. But you’re still skating every day, so it’s putting it upon yourself to go out there and stay ready for things.”

The one issue for Morrow, a former first round pick, over the last couple of seasons has been maintaining a high level of play once he draws his way into the lineup. It feels like there’s a drop-off in his play once he’s played a few games in a row whether it’s physical mistakes or mental lapses in his play, and that’s something he wants to avoid when given an opportunity to suit up.

“I feel like when I have played this year that I’ve been quite consistent and that I’ve played well,” said Morrow, the last remaining part of the 2013 Tyler Seguin trade still in a Bruins uniform. “I’m just in a situation that the cards are playing out the way that they are, so it depends on how many games I get whether it’s one, two, 30 or however many games are left [in the season]. It’s realistically entirely up to me. If I can shake the rust out in the first couple of shifts and start from there, it’s going to be a big positive in my book. It’s the really the only option I have left now.”

Given that Colin Miller began skating on his own on Sunday morning, it might not be a very big window for Morrow to impress upon the coaches just how badly he wants to play. But one would expect he’s going to bring his best on Monday against the Isles with the hopes that it will be somebody else sitting up in the press box when it once again becomes a D-man numbers game for the 7-8 players for six lineup spots.