BOSTON (CBS) – Maybe when your rookie season is abbreviated because of a lack of available playing time for the eventual Stanley Cup champions, your dealings with the sophomore slump are also cut short.
After a red-hot start, rookie Tyler Seguin’s offensive production started to slow down last month. He actually went through a stretch of one goal in nine games that surrounded his December 6 healthy scratch caused by missing a team breakfast in Winnipeg.
But since a point-less game in Ottawa December 14, Seguin has gotten back to lighting up opponents. With his three-point (one goal, two assists) performance in the Bruins’ 9-0 drubbing of Calgary Thursday night at the TD Garden, Seguin now has three goals and nine points in his last six games.
His 36 points on the season lead the team, as do his 16 goals.
“Really since Ottawa I’ve really just been not thinking too much about anything besides what my strengths are going into the game,” he said after the destruction of Calgary. “My routine before the games has changed a little bit. I’ve been a little bit more focused and not so loose before the games really. I’m just trying a different route and now it’s working.”
Still just 19 years old, Seguin was able to self-diagnose what was wrong during his first major slump of his second NHL season.
“Obviously I thought I had a good start to the season and I wanted to stay consistent, but there was a bit of a lull there for myself, and really us as a line. You know we weren’t putting the pucks in the back of the net,” said Seguin. “But I thought my D zone was still great then. I wasn’t doing too many things wrong there, and that’s No. 1 for me. I knew that if I could stay consistent with that and stay focused on my strengths and not so much points or production it was going to come back around.”
A major goal of Seguin’s this season was not just to be consistent, but be more than just a scorer. He’s shown flashes of a guy who can play with a physical element when necessary, especially when protecting the puck. He showed that ability throughout the victory over the Flames, and has been playing with some jam during his recent uptick in production.
“Yeah he’s improved in that area, there’s no doubt. I said his confidence, but also his strength,” said head coach Claude Julien. “The experience he’s gained, he’s got a whole year under his belt right now, so he’s a much braver and better player that way and it’s helped us gain a lot.
“He goes in the corner, and he understands the message that he doesn’t have to run anybody through the boards, but he has to get in there and battle. And I think that’s what he’s been doing lately and that’s helping his game.”
Seguin knows he has to now keep things going in an upward direction. However, when you look back at it, if four games without a goal is his longest slump, he’ll be able to claim consistency as one of his virtues.
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com. He operatesTheBruinsBlog.net and also contributes coverage to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on twitter @TheBruinsBlog.