BOSTON (CBS) — Monday afternoon’s game at the TD Garden had a bit of everything. There were huge hits, great saves and plenty of scoring opportunities, but there just weren’t too many goals.
And if it weren’t for Tyler Seguin, there wouldn’t have been any for Boston.
In a game that featured 38 combined block shots between the Bruins and Jets, as well as at least four shots off the post, goals were hard to come by for both teams. To score, the Bruins were going to need a spark, and it was the electrifying Seguin who provided it late in the first period.
The still-20-year-old winger burst through a passing lane at the Winnipeg blue line, intercepting a backward pass from Andrew Ladd intended for Bryan Little. Seguin then breezed around Tobias Enstrom and carried the puck deep into the zone to goaltender Ondrej Pavelec’s left side, waiting patiently to create a passing lane to Brad Marchand, who was working his way around the 6-foot-5, 265-pound Dustin Byfuglien in front of the net.
Seguin threaded the needle, and the feisty left winger buried the first of what could be many goals assisted by Seguin this season.
“Once Seggs got it, I knew if I could beat my guy to the net — he was kind of standing still — I’d be able to get a good opportunity,” Marchand said. “Seggs put it on my tape. That’s all I tried to do, and he made a great pass and I just put it in the open net.”
Seguin spoke rather nonchalantly about the play — “I just poked my stick out there … and found Marchy in front” — but in a game that ended up tied 1-1 at the end of 65 minutes, it proved to be a crucial one.
It was also a defensive play that the young forward is making more and more often, with head coach Claude Julien noting that Seguin made a similar steal Saturday night against the Rangers.
“I think that’s a little bit of good instinct,” Julien said. “I think those kinds of things in his situation pay off because of his skill level. Once he turns that puck over and he gets going on the offense, he becomes a dangerous player. That was a great pass to Brad, and Brad made the best of it.”
With the Garden crowd buzzing in anticipation every single time No. 19 touched the puck, it was appropriate that Seguin was the one who opened the shootout with a truly incredible move to beat Pavelec. Seguin carried the puck wide left with speed before hitting the brakes. He deked back and forth about 10 times, toying with Pavelec’s patience, before finally flipping a forehand past Pavelec’s glove.
“I usually like to use my speed, but you gotta mix it it up because of video these days, people look around,” Seguin said. “I’ve been doing [that move] for a little while, but I haven’t really done it in a game. … I knew the whole way that I wanted to go glove. I hadn’t decided if I was going to go with speed or without speed until I really picked up the puck in the shootout. I decided to slow down, and that’s how it worked out.”
Patrice Bergeron buried his shootout attempt, and Tuukka Rask (24 saves) stopped two Jets attempts to give the Bruins a victory and a 2-0-0 record to start the shortened season.
In a 48-game schedule — which will require players to grind their way through bumps, bruises and sore legs — the Bruins may be relying more and more on Seguin to lead the way on offense. Through two games back in the NHL after lighting it up in Switzerland, the kid seems just fine taking on that responsibility.