Bruins

Bruins notes: Seguin shines despite limited ice time

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Bruins notes: Seguin shines despite limited ice time

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Tyler Seguin certainly experiencedsome extreme ups and downs in his first NHL playoff experience, but theres one thing that almost everyone can agree on: There probably should have been a lot more Seguin in Saturday night's 5-2 loss to the Lightning.The 19-year-old wunderkind scored the Bruins' first goal and finished as their only multipoint performer in their 5-2 loss at TD Garden. He clocked in at just under a measly 10 minutes of ice time, but his contributions were titanic.Well, we had a lot of penalty kills and power plays and right now Im not in that loop," said Seguin about his limited ice time. "So I was just trying to stay ready on the bench and try to motivate that guys and in my next shift just be ready."
He had a good game. I thought when he had his chance, he took advantage of it and scored, said coach Claude Julien. Obviously he had a lot of energy tonight and excitement in his game, so he was a good player for us.

The energy was certainly the thing for the No. 2 overall pick after hed waited more than a month to get back into the lineup. He watched the first two rounds of this years postseason from the press box, and was raring to go.
His goal blunted some of Tampa Bay's momentum after the Bolts had jumped out to a 3-0 lead. He took a pass from Michael Ryder and went crossing over the blue line with some speed. Seguin turned on the jets in the offensive zone to split Marc-Andre Bergeron and Mike Lundin, while leaving a spinning, out-of-control Lundin behind him in the slot area while he cut back against the grain for a one-on-one attempt. After dusting the Tampa Bay defense, Seguin beat Dwayne Roloson with a lower right corner shot that capped off a highlight reel offensive play."The goal was definitely a bit of a relief. I think coming in the first period, I was definitely very excited, said Seguin. I found myself running around just a little bit just because I had so much legs I guess. After I had that goal, it was a bit of a sigh of relief and I could be more poised out there.The goal stopped the bleeding and put the Bruins back in the game, somewhat, at 3-1, but they never totally erased the deficit in a game that featured too many mistakes."Yeah, its frustrating, But its a lot better than being up in the stands where you cant contribute at all," said Seguin. "At least there I could be out with the boys and motivating everyone. Everyone was trying to keep their heads high that point. We were running into a lot of PKs and a lot of power plays and trying to get one there before the end of the second. But it didnt work out."Amazingly, Seguin still managed only two shifts and 1:51 of ice time in the second period, as Julien and the other coaches apparently decided that hisoffensive skill, speed and passablegrit were not needed ingredients. The skills and his newfound willingness to aggressively pursue his shot are exactly the kind of things that are woefully missing from Boston's power play, but Julien said "no comment" when asked about Seguin and the 0-for-4PP following the game.The 19-year-old also admitted he wasnt always the most attentive player to detail in his personal life during the course of the season, but he certainly appears to be locked in for the playoffs. Thats why Julien after some healthy second-guessing by the Bruins fans courtesy of the Versus telecast finally inserted Seguin for a regular shiftalong with Chris Kelly and Brad Marchand during the final 20 minutes.

Seguin responded again to his coachs show in confidence by blasting Lundin with a heavy hit along the boards later on in the game, and assisting on Johnny Boychuks third-period strike that took a fortuitous bounce off a Tampa defensemans skate.Seguin could be the guy in danger of hitting the bench once Patrice Bergeron returns to the fold, but that really didn't seem like it should be the case given the way his speed and skill can help against a Lightning team brimming with both qualities.

The Bruins were spanked commandingly in the faceoff circle throughout the game. David Krejci lost 15 out of 18 faceoff draws Saturday night, and the team won only 26 of 47 in a one-sided beating on the dot.Its so important to start with the puck," said Julien. "When you dont win as many draws as youre used to, youre backpedaling a little bit and those lost draws, and we know how quickly they counter. It certainly didnt help our game tonight.SeveralBruins players that spoke with CSNNE.com afterGame One indicated they thought Patrice Bergeron might be ready to play as early as Game Two on Tuesday night given how well he's progressing from his "mild concussion." No definites given his chance to suffer a setback in the next two days, but it appears the center'sreturn will be sooner rather than later. Bergeron was missed greatly in all three zones during the first game against Tampa Bay.

Stat holds true to form after Game 1 of the series: Bruins are 6-0 when they score first this postseason and the Lightning are an impressive 8-0 when they score first. That means the Bolts are 1-3 in four games during these playoffs when they dont get on the board first.

Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson becomes the first goalie to win eight straight playoff games since Hall of Fame goalie Jacques Plante in 1969.

Lightning head coach Guy Boucher has continuously heaped praise on Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas throughout the series, and the Tampa head stayed consistent by lionizing Thomas. It didnt matter that the Bs netminder had allowed three goals in the span of 85 seconds, including a soft backhanded bid to Brett Clark for the Bolts second goal, in the first period.Tim Thomas is going to make miracles, said Boucher. I would be shocked if he doesnt come back with his best game of the playoffs. They came back in the first series, from two games. Its only one game, weve done nothing yet.

Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves with Derek Boogaard on multiple occasions throughout his career and Shane Hnidy was a teammate of the New York Rangers enforcer, who was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment on Friday morning. Hnidy said that the death was hitting him hard, and it was clear he had a lot of respect for the 6-foot-8, 28-year-old Boogie Man.

The hockey community is so tight that its always felt in the players, coaches and even the media when something like this happens, said Hnidy. But its tough when it happens to a teammate, or somebody that youve played with. It hit me pretty hard last night.

TD Garden officials observed a moment of silence for Boogaard prior to the game in a very nice show of respect for the late Rangers tough guy.

Julien said Marc Savard is scheduled to come down from Peterborough, Ontario to Boston during the series.

"Im not quite sure exactly what day or which game, but hes supposed to come down, said Julien. No doubt hes a part of our hockey club. Hes always welcome here anytime he wants to come down. Id be happy to see him if thats the case.

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

Marchand, Krug and Backes all practice, won't play vs. Devils

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Marchand, Krug and Backes all practice, won't play vs. Devils

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins are getting closer to a healthier lineup, but it won’t be in time for the Thanksgiving Eve road tilt against the upstart New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.

Brad Marchand (upper body), Torey Krug (upper body) and David Backes (colon surgery) all skated in red no-contact jerseys at practice Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena, so none of those three banged-up B’s will be making the trip to Jersey. Anders Bjork (upper body) didn’t practice and is obviously out vs. the Devils as well, but Ryan Spooner might be a possibility after making it through his first full practice since tearing his groin almost six weeks ago.

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If he can make it through Wednesday's morning skate without any problems, Spooner will likely be a game-time decision against the Devils after missing the past 14 games.  

The Bruins have continued to indicate that Marchand is in the concussion protocol, though it appears the Bruins agitator is dealing with both upper body and lower body issues. Marchand was encouraged by the progress he’s making while returning to practice, so perhaps the B’s could get back one of their leading scorers sooner rather than later.

“I feel pretty good. It’s good to be back with the guys and feel like you’re a part of the team,” said Marchand, who has missed five of the past seven games after returning for the home-and-home against the Maple Leafs. “It’s frustrating whenever you miss games and you miss time away from the team, but they had a great road trip and they’re playing well. It would be nice to be back in the lineup consistently and be back with the team...it’ll come.”

Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings vs. the Devils based on practice Tuesday:

Heinen-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Cehlarik

Vatrano-Spooner-Nash/Szwarz

Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari

Beleskey-Marchand-Backes

 
Chara-McAvoy

O’Gara/Postma-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Miller

 
Rask

Khudobin
 

Bruins need to ride Khudobin's hot hand until Rask rights himself

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Bruins need to ride Khudobin's hot hand until Rask rights himself

BRIGHTON -- It took until the Bruins were truly desperate, but Bruce Cassidy finally shook up a goaltending situation badly in need of a change.

The Bruins opted to ride the hot hand with backup Anton Khudobin and he backstopped the first two-game winning streak of the season, turning away 63 of 65 shots in victories at Los Angeles and San Jose. Khudobin has been incredibly strong out of the gate, posting a 5-0-2 record and, amazingly, leading the NHL with a .935 save percentage.

Meanwhile, $7 million man Tuukka Rask has donned the backup ball-cap on the bench and is being given extra time to try and pull his game together.

That’s the story of the season thus far for a Bruins team that hasn’t lost in regulation when Khudobin's in net and hasn’t been able to get on the same page with Rask.

Rask said he understood the situation while talking about it after Monday’s optional practice, and admitted even he would have gone with the red-hot Khudobin Saturday against the Sharks.

“[Khudobin] has played very good hockey in all of the games that he’s played," said Rask, who's 30th in the league in save percentage at .879. "You play a game (like the one Khudobin played against the Kings last Thursday), then I think it’s very reasonable he gets another start based on the way he played, and the way that we played. I had no issues with that. I said in San Jose that if I was the coach then I would have done the same thing.

"I think we’re going to share some playing time here. The way we talked about it before the year, we don’t want any goaltender to sit down for too long. So I think we’re both going to see some action.”

The sentiments sound like those of a good, selfless teammate with his eyes wide open about a situation that clearly hasn’t gone his way, But it also feels a little too even-keeled for someone who's essentially been benched for a couple of games, similar to the lack of strong, visceral emotion Rask has shown when he’s been held out of Bruins-Canadiens games because of his career-long struggles against Montrea. IIt amounts to a monumental shrug of the shoulders, and a breezy lament that the bounces haven’t gone his way.

Rask did admit his subpar numbers this season do reveal some level of struggle, but he certainly didn’t sound like a player consumed with his dreadful .897 save percentage or problematic 3-7-2 record.

“You can’t let it get into your head, and you need to see through the numbers a little bit," he said. "The numbers are numbers, and obviously there’s some truth to them. But they’re not telling the whole story. Even if you’re winning, you don’t want to look at your numbers and say 'I’m playing unbelievable’ when the team is playing unbelievable in front of you while you’re getting the wins and the low scores.

“Either way it goes you have to stay focused with your own thing and what you’re doing, and then just the results will follow. That’s the thing that I think you have to believe in. [The margin for error] has been like that all season, so I just go out there, do my thing and try to keep the team in it while knowing the results will follow.”

Khudobin didn’t practice on Monday after tweaking a lower-body issue in his 36-save performance against the Sharks, and Cassidy said he has yet to make a decision as to who'll play Wednesday in New Jersey.

“Clearly [Khudobin] has played well and we’re contemplating . . . we haven’t made any decisions yet, but that tells you we want to balance it right,” said Cassidy. “But, hey, he’s got the hot hand, so we’ll look into that a little bit more [ahead of Wednesday].”

The hope from this humble hockey writer is that Cassidy continues to ride the hot hand provided Khudobin's healthy and able to play. The Bruins have a grand total of 20 points on the season, and Khudobin has a whopping 12 of them. They need the kind of airtight goaltending they’re currently getting from Khudobin . . . and aren't getting right now from Rask.

And then perhaps we’ll start to see something a little more fiery in the emotion department from Rask, who should be intent on protecting his No. 1 starter’s job with the Bruins and pulling himself out of a “meh” start to the season. It begs the question as to what happened to the guy who infamously fired milk crates on the ice during an epic shootout tirade while he was still a minor-league goaltender in Providence. 

It doesn’t have to be another meltdown, but both the Bruins and Rask need him to revert back to being the dominant franchise goaltender he used to be in order for the B’s to get where they want to go this season. 

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