Bruins

Seguin rediscovering his game after lull

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Seguin rediscovering his game after lull

It looks like things might be turning around for Tyler Seguin.

After going through an offensive slowdown that saw the 19-year-old pot only two goals in 14 games and getscratched in a road gamefor disciplinary reasons, Seguin is heating up once again. He earned an assist on Brad Marchands game winning goal in the Bs 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden, and has chalked up three points and 11 shots on net in his last two games.

The high-powered winger was also part of the Boston quintet on the ice that allowed Montreals first goal when the B's wall of defensecouldnt slow down Tomas Plekanecs rush into the offensive zone, but thats become a trade-off that the Bruins are willing to make. The entire team defense suffered a letdown in the second period, but Seguin made up for it with the perfect tape-to-tape saucer pass straight out of the nasty hockey skills handbook to set up Marchand's game-winner.

With Tyler its starting to come around again. You can see those kinds of offensive plays, said Claude Julien. I wouldnt say its half and half, but there are times in the game where we see some of the things that hes struggling with.

But then hell go out the next shift and do the things that we know hes very good at. That consistency is something Seguin is working on. Those offensive plays hes been making have been more of his nature are encouraging right now because it shows that hes working his way out of it.

Seguin has responded with three points in his last two games, and is still on pace for 37 goals and nearly 80 points for the kind of scoring totals the Bruins havent witnessed in several seasons. So what was the key to Seguin turning things around with so much swirling around the second-year player? What was the answer to counteract his offensive slowdown that seemed tocoincide with the disciplinary actions taken against himin Winnipeg after missing a morning meeting?

We all go through little valleys in the season, said Seguin. Its about finding that consistency and dealing with that self-frustration when youre not getting points.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara actually sat down with Seguin while the team was in Ottawa, and the veteran leader sensed his young teammate was straying from his game out of sheerdesperation. Charas message in the conversation was simple: Scale things back to the foundation of your game and focus on your offensive skills.

That little chat between seasoned leader and fresh-faced youngster left Seguin empowered with the same kind of confidence and determination that marked his start to the season. It also allowed the 19-year-old to relax and take the weight of the world off his shoulders while the Bruins kept churning out the wins.

Offensive struggleshaven't reallyhappened to me much in my career, but I really felt a difference after having a conversation with Chara in Ottawa, said Seguin. I give him a lot of credit. He told me to get back to what Im good at and stop getting frustrated about not getting points or whatever. It goes a long way. I dont know if he realizes it, but I could see it on his face when he was talking to me that he really cares about me. He told me whats up and it was something that really worked for me.

I had been thinking a lot. I know my strengths are skating and shooting, and I had a lot of shots on net in my last game. I know I had a few more shots tonight. I know Im getting back to that.

Seguin isnt all the way back to the electric offensive talent that sparked the Bruins in the opening months of the season, but hes back on the road to the top thanks to some inspirational words from his captain.

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.