November 5, 2011
Seguin putting best foot forward
By Rob Longley, QMI Agency
TORONTO - Leave it to Bruins goalie Tim Thomas to come up with a sensible reason why teenager Tyler Seguin is suddenly lighting it up in as a second-year pro.
Thomas, who earned a shutout in the lopsided 7-0 Bruins win Saturday at the Air Canada Centre, put it down, literally, to growing pains.
“Because he was an 18-year-old kid with size-13 feet,” Thomas said after making 25 saves. “He’s in control of his feet a lot better. You know he has the potential to do the stuff he’s done on a pretty regular basis.”
Seguin was in pure control as he recorded his first career hat trick against his hometown team, one that he’s heard hundreds of times could have been his if it were not for the Phil Kessel trade. While there’s no need to get into the tired, “who won, who lost the trade,” it was a huge night for the Brampton native, who now has eight points in eight career games against the Leafs.
“To be honest, I don’t really think about it very much,” said Seguin, who shelled out big cash for tickets for 25 friends and family. “It was more, one day I want to be playing here or against the Leafs so I could look up into the stands and almost pick out where I sat growing up in different seats.”
With seven goals and seven assists, Seguin is the Bruins leading scorer so far in just 12 games. He scored 22 as a rookie while learning the ropes as a rookie (he was often a healthy scratch.)
“It’s always a big night for any player to get their first hat trick,” teammate Milan Lucic said. “To get it in your hometown against the team you were ‘supposed’ to be on if it weren’t for the trade ... it only adds to it.”
Wonder what role a big-time centre plays for a developing superstar? Patrice Bergeron had an assist on each of Seguin’s three goals ... Have you ever seen as many players standing around watching as there were when David Krejci scored the Bruins’ fifth goal? ... One bad game is no cause for panic, obviously. The lack of energy from the Leafs through most of this one is cause for concern .... This just in — Bruins superstar goalie Thomas is not Steve Mason or Martin Brodeur. The Conn Smythe Trophy winner was sharp when needed, a task made especially easy given the Leafs had minimal interest in getting any traffic in front of him ... Bruins coach Claude Julien is one of the NHL’s better “matchup” coaches, home or away, and was able to keep Zdano Chara on the ice for the majority of Kessel’s shifts. Leafs coach Ron Wilson said Kessel is going to have to step up against the towering blueliner. “You’ve got to find a way to play against a guy like that,” Wilson said. “We’ve got two more games in there this year and I can’t possibly keep him away.” ... Hard to seriously knock Kessel at this point, but after that flying start he hasn’t scored in four and has just one goal in his past six games ... Everyone in the ACC heard Seguin calling for the puck for that power-play goal that kicked off the Bruins rout in the first.
Tough day for goalie Ben Scrivens, who was told Friday that he would get the start and had enough time to fly in his parents, brother and two friends for Game 2 of his NHL career. He wasn’t as sharp as needed but didn’t have much help in front, either. The final scoreline in his first home start: Five goals on 14 shots. The worst part were the four that came rapid fire — two were eight seconds apart and two more were 14 seconds apart. Scrivens could be seen apologizing to players on the Leafs bench when he was yanked in the second period ... After Scrivens got the hook, Jonas Gustavsson joined in on the quick-strike party, allowing a pair just 28 seconds apart in the third ... No matter how much the Leafs work on the penalty kill in practice, they seem unable to gain any traction. The Bruins took advantage of the worst PK unit in the league on Seguin’s blast from a deep angle to open the scoring ... No surprise in a 7-0 blowout, but there wasn’t a Leafs skater that wasn’t at least minus-1 ... While the Leafs managed to outshoot their opponent, the chances weren’t always of a high quality. “We’re starting to play a style of defence that’s more Boston Bruins-like,” Thomas said ... Up 7-0, Julien showed a little mercy in the third, putting his fourth line on as the first power-play unit ... It came approximately two hours too late, but Dion Phaneuf laid out Boston’s Chris Kelly with a booming check midway through the third ... When asked by a reporter about recording his 14th career shutout, Thomas had a little fun, pulling off the engraved watch the team gave him last season when he had his 25th.
The Stanley Cup hang-over angle is way overdone, but the Bruins may be hitting their stride. They now have their first two-game winning streak and head back to Boston for a five-game homestand ... Lazy play by Leafs defencemen Phaneuf and Carl Gunnarsson on the Bruins’ third goal, a killer second score in the opening minute of the middle period. The snoozing D-men watched as a long Chara pass split the pair to give Lucic a breakaway goal (his first of two) just eight seconds after Seguin’s second of the game.