Bruins

Seguin searching for consistency in second year

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Seguin searching for consistency in second year

PITTSBURGH Even when Tyler Seguins offensive production slows down as it had with one goal and four points in his last nine games headed into Monday nights showdown with the Penguins the 19-year-old sniper is still dangerous.

Thats perhaps one of the biggest differences between this season and his rookie year when he managed 11 goals and 22 points.

Seguin has the confidence to jump up and strike an opponent when hes run into a little bit of a wall, and that was the case with his power play goal minutes into the third period that put the finishing touches on a 3-1 win over the Penguins at the CONSOL Energy Center.

The goal gives him a team-leading 13 goals and 25 points in 25 games this season, so Seguin is keeping his point-per-game pace up. But the two shots on net and minus-1 in 13:02 of ice time signify that the Bs natural born scorer is fighting through a second-year lull thats bound to happen to a player learning at an exceptional rate.

He admitted following Bostons 14th win in 15 games that hes become frustrated in the last few games, and is hoping to recreate the magic and playmaking that typified the first six weeks to his breakout season.

Hopefully I can stop getting so frustrated in my head and start playing well, said Seguin. Its something I have to try to avoid. A lot of times people say its hard to stay consistent in this league and its something Ive heard many times. Its something Im trying to crack.

Im the first one to admit that I feel that way sometimes. Its bugging me that Im falling into that. But Im working my out of it and playing as strong as I can.

The goal itself was a thing of beauty with the Bruins opening the final period with a power play to start the action. Patrice Bergeron carried the puck into the offensive zone on the right side, and hit the turbo button while speeding past a flat-footed Matti Niskanen en route to the net. Bergeron got Marc-Andre Fleury to commit to Bergerons shot, and the center flipped a pass across the ice to Seguin for a scorched one-timer that gave Fleury zero chance to recover.

As it with many of Seguins pinpoint shots the puck hit the netting and bounced back out of the crease area like a rocket, but there was the goal. It was one the youngster wanted badly.

I dont know how many goals Id have if I didnt have Bergeron and Marchand on my line, but it was just nice to finish it off, said Seguin, who described the goal as nothing more than a tap in.

Production will come with Seguin once he gathers another burst of frenetic energy and gets back into lockstep with Bergeron to become the two-man fore-checking nightmare they represented through the majority of the season. Its simple reality that a youngster as talented as Seguin is going to find consistent excellence as more teams and more defenses pay closer attention to him with and without the puck.

Just witness the exchange between Sidney Crosby and Seguin after the teenager bumped Pittsburghs center prior to a whistle and cover-up in Bostons end during the first period. Crosby took notice and launched a few verbal barrages at Seguin, and the youngster returned fire on the Face of the NHL.

"I have the utmost respect for Crosby. He's one of best players in the world, said Seguin. But youve just gotta chirp back sometimes.

Thats the kind of answer that lets you know Seguin is figuring it out on the ice and will solve whatever has ailed him over the last 10 games. The third period power play strike might have been the start of something good.

'I definitely wasn't mad at our team,' Rask says of Vegas postgame comments

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'I definitely wasn't mad at our team,' Rask says of Vegas postgame comments

BRIGHTON, Mass – Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was acting a bit out of character after the Sunday night loss to the Vegas Golden Knights when he said he wouldn’t be commenting on team performance outside of his own goaltending. 

Clearly, it was a tense atmosphere in the Bruins dressing room following an extremely bad road performance and it would seem very likely there’s probably been some friction in the past between Rask and positional players over his postgame candor.

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That was the backdrop for Rask keeping it laconic, and saying on Sunday night: “I just try to go out there and give us a chance to win every night. That’s what I’m focused on. I’m not going to comment anymore on team play that much. We can just talk about goaltending. That’s just the way it is. Sorry.”

It would seem that some fans and Bruins observers took that to mean Rask was pissed off at his Bruins teammates after a few breakdowns defensively, and a total non-performance at the offensive end of the ice.

Taking all that into account, Rask clarified his comments a bit after practice Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena and said it’s all about focusing on his own performance rather than taking issues with any of his teammates.

“You lose games and you’re not happy with your performance. Somebody just told me that I guess it got spun the wrong way that it was me mad at my teammates or something. That’s definitely not the case,” said Rask, whom at 1-3-0 with a 3.30 goals-against average and .880 save percentage this season, is clearly in need of some improvement as well.

“You lose games and you definitely hold yourself accountable and you want to talk about your performance and what you need to do to get better," Rask said. "So, that’s where I was coming from. I definitely wasn’t mad at our team. I was more mad at myself, so that’s that.

“You always try to give a fair assessment about the game, but I think the biggest thing that I need to worry about, and what everybody else needs to worry about, is how they get better themselves. You start from that, so that’s where I was coming from.”

The prospect of getting Patrice Bergeron and David Backes back healthy would go a long way toward improving the Bruins play on the ice and stabilizing things defensively for Rask and the rest of the Black and Gold. That’s really what’s needed at this point to improve a situation where the B’s are 23rd in the NHL, averaging 3.6 goals allowed per game, and real, rather than figurative, fingers might start getting pointed all around if it doesn’t start looking better in short order.  

Morning Skate: Shawn Thornton brightening hospitalized kids' days

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Morning Skate: Shawn Thornton brightening hospitalized kids' days

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while back in the good, ol' Eastern Time Zone.
 
*Really nice piece from Shawn Thornton in the Players' Tribune about the inspiration provided by his “Nanny” and how he’s come to truly love the community service and hospital visits while involved with professional hockey. He’s always been one of those athletes that just stops by children’s hospitals for a visit without needing the attention for it, and that is a credit to his great generosity and empathy for those brave kids.

 *You want a Stanley Cup made out of bottle caps? Well, the world will certainly provide a Stanley Cup made out of bottle caps.

*Defenseman Connor Murphy hasn’t been the player that the Chicago Blackhawks expected him to be since arriving in the Windy City.
 
*The Colorado Avalanche are adding a fancy stats and video man to their management group as they seek to keep improving the NHL product.
 
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Eddie Olczyk is returning to the NBC broadcast booth as his health will allow as he continues to battle cancer. Good to see you back, Edzo!

 *Erik Karlsson is finally set to debut for the Ottawa Senators after offseason foot surgery, and it will be a case of the strong getting stronger for a Sens team off to a pretty decent start.

 *For something completely different: Just in time for Halloween, Jennifer Tilly releases all of the behind-the-scenes secrets of working with Chucky.