Bruins

Seguin just barely off the mark

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Seguin just barely off the mark

BOSTON -- It was one of those kinds of days for Tyler Seguin.

The 20-year-old was one of the best forwards on the ice for the Bruins and seemed to be creating most of the best offensive chances for the Black and Gold, but he just couldnt slap the finishing touch on any of the plays.

So Seguin didnt factor into any of the offense in the Bs 2-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and a fat upper lip added injury to insult from a Pascal Dupuis high stick to the mouth in the second period. But Seguin was still working hard, creating chances and generating offense in a tangible way that coincided with many of his teammates beginning to put the effort in as well.

It would appear Seguin and the Bruins are getting tired of their alternating pattern of wins and losses, and its showing on the ice. The effort and desire is coming back, and now it comes down to finishing touch returning to skill players like Seguin.

When youre struggling you dont just come out the next night and everything is fixed. Its the same thing when youre winning. Your play is starting to slip, but youre still winning hockey games before it catches up, said Claude Julien. The same thing is going to happen in reverse. Were going to play some decent games and at the end of the night you look at what has happened and were still on the losing end of it.

But you got to start building on the positive. Tonight I thought our effort was better, our focus was better and there were a couple of areas we have to continue to improve on. But if our guys go back out there tomorrow night and give that same effort, were going to turn this around.

The Bruins went on a four-minute power play following the high-sticking infraction, but couldnt score in an afternoon of fruitless offensive offerings. Seguin said he was fine following the game aside from some sore teeth, but was looking back with regret on a couple of the missed chances from a one-goal game. There was a first period setup for a one-timer from Patrice Bergeron that was served on a platter for Seguin, and he got a little too much of the puck while firing the shoot far over the open nets crossbar.

Seguin made a couple of feathery passes to set up Brad Marchand and Joe Corvo for scoring chances with the Corvo pass actually coming during the power play for the high stick against No. 19 but his teammates couldnt finish off the play.

Then there was Seguins partial breakaway in the third period when he darted and dangled through the heart of the Pittsburgh defense, but Marc Andre-Fleury did a masterful job of standing tall with the game on the line. That save represented one of Bostons best scoring chances in the last few minutes of the third period, and it was the first thing Seguin was thinking about after the game.

Personally I thought I had a few chances and I think as a line we definitely had a couple chances there. There were a couple of semi partial breakaways, you know, in tight, said Seguin. Were just not finishing right now. Hopefully we can pop a couple there in Washington tomorrow and get these goals in bunches going.

Seguin showed he was ready to get things going on Saturday afternoon, and theres no reason to think he cant carry that over into Sunday with the team badly in need of his explosive offense.

Rask recovering from concussion, may be ready to play on Saturday

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Rask recovering from concussion, may be ready to play on Saturday

BRIGHTON -- Tuukka Rask is quickly making his way through the concussion protocol and may return to action this weekend.

The Bruins netminder skated with the other injured players ahead of Monday’s main team practice at Warrior Ice Arena, and is on track to rejoin the team at regular practice on Tuesday barring any setbacks in his concussion recovery. That would leave Rask with just a couple of games missed after getting trucked by Anders Bjork at practice last week, and it would give the Bruins back their No. 1 goaltender after Anton Khudobin let in five goals vs. the Sabres on Thursday night.

“He’s in the protocol and progressing well,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “He’ll probably join us [on Tuesday] for the next step if there are no ill effects from today. That’s a positive. If there are no setbacks, I think Saturday is a more realistic [timetable for a return].”

The hope would be that Rask could start elevating his game when he does return, and play better than the goalie that’s posted the 1-3-0 record, 3.30 goals against average and .882 save percentage thus far this season. But first things first with the recovery to his first career concussion as an NHL goalie, and the set of hurdles that must be passed before Rask is again allowed to jump back into game action as early as this weekend.

Here are the line combos and D-pairings from Bruins practice with Rask, David Krejci and Noel Acciari all skating prior to practice, Patrice Bergeron staying off ice with a maintenance day and Kevan Miller skating in main practice with a maroon, no-contact jersey:

Marchand-Schaller-Bjork
DeBrusk-Backes-Pastrnak
Agostino-Nash-White
Beleskey-Kuraly-Vatrano

Chara-McAvoy
Krug-Carlo
Miller-Postma

Khudobin

Schaller's sterling play helping to ease Bruins' pain

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Schaller's sterling play helping to ease Bruins' pain

BRIGHTON -- Injuries, and some really tough losses, have put a bit of a damper on the start to the Bruins season. But there've also been a couple of unquestioned bright spots.

And one of them is Tim Schaller, who's been a strong, consistent performer in the first couple of weeks of the season. The New Hampshire native -- and lifelong Bruins fan -- was penciled in as a fourth-line winger throughout most of training camp, but he’s played everywhere as injuries have ravaged the B's roster.

The high point was probably centering Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak (and notching an assist) in Saturday’s overtime loss to the Sabres, and filling in for a late-scratched David Krejci with a very different set of skills. Certainly he’s been a standout for the Bruins with his physicality, including stepping up and fighting man mountain Erik Gudbranson after Gudbranson's nasty boarding hit on Frank Vatrano last week, and he’s also kicked in a couple of goals and three points in seven games thus far this season.

“It’s a reactionary thing, and that’s just in a person,” said Bruce Cassidy of fighting Gudbranson. “It’s a character thing because you don’t have a lot of time to think about it. Good for Timmy. That earns a lot of street cred not only in your own locker room, but the other teams notice it. too.

"We know with the goals that he can obviously chip in [offensively] and he’s doing a great job for what we’re asking him to do. He’s probably going to take ownership if he’s out there with some young guys on a line, and if he can be a leader and get that line playing the right way every night that is very valuable to us.”

Schaller’s game to this point is a continuation of what he showed in his first season with the Bruins last year, when the 26-year-old posted 7 goals and 14 points in 59 games while becoming a staple in Boston’s bottom-6 group. He’s once again shown pretty good straight-ahead speed for a big man, and a willingness to take his 6-foot-2, 219-pound frame straight to the net.

“I’ve been moving well and I’ve got the two goals, so personally I’m happy [with my game],” said Schaller. “Hopefully others can feed off what I’m trying to do out there, and we get a more well-balanced game [as a team]. I had a good season last year, and what was really good was that I knew that I had more to give. That’s what I’m trying to do this season.

“I can obviously produce more. I had a good start to last season and then I kind of fell off a little bit. So hopefully I can be a little more consistent for this entire year.”

That would be a very good thing for a Bruins team that can use him in a bottom-6 energy role when its roster is healthy, and will fully utilize his versatility in times of injuries and adversity.