BOSTON (CBS) — He spent the lockout tearing up the Swiss league, but upon his return to NHL hockey with the Bruins, Tyler Seguin’s scoring prowess went noticeably absent. With just one empty-net goal to his name through the first six games of the season, Thursday night at an emotionally charged TD Garden — and on the night of his 21st birthday — appeared to be a prime time to break out.
He did contribute with an assist on a Brad Marchand goal which gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead in the second period, but at the end of the night, he was without a goal in a game the Bruins lost 7-4.
“I don’t know what to say. I’m trying,” Seguin said after the loss. “I’m getting opportunities, and they’re not going in.”
Seguin did get his chances against the Sabres, as he was credited with three shots on goal and also took a few that whistled high or wide of Ryan Miller. He also had a near-breakaway midway through the second period, but Christian Ehrhoff was able to disrupt him from behind just enough to interfere with Seguin’s plans.
While his 21st birthday won’t be remembered for any goal celebrations, Seguin’s teammates expressed confidence that there’s no need to worry about the lack of goals through seven games of the 48-game season.
“He’s such a great player that goals are going to come,” said Marchand, who scored twice. “There’s nothing to worry about there. He’s very talented and he’s getting his opportunities and eventually they’re going to go in.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien shared that sentiment.
“He’ll find his way,” Julien said. “He was a little bit more assertive, especially early on. … With assertiveness comes confidence, and with confidence comes the rest of his game. So he’s working through that right now.”
Expectations were high for Seguin, who scored 25 goals and added 15 assists in his 29 games in Switzerland, entering the season — and with good reason. He led the Bruins in goals (29) and points (67) last season, and with another year of physical and mental growth, that was expected to keep up in the shortened 48-game season.
It hasn’t — at least not in terms of individual results — but he has picked up three assists on the year and a plus-5 rating, as linemate Marchand has built the team lead in goals with five. And it’s not as if Thursday’s loss was due to a lack of offense.
“It was one of those nights where half of our game was good,” Julien said. “We had lots of scoring chances, we had lots of shots. When you score four goals with our team that’s usually enough.”
Nevertheless, it’s been a bit bizarre to see Seguin not score, considering he still looks to be the most dangerous and explosive player on the ice almost every time he hops over the boards. The goals will come, but thanks to the Sabres, Seguin likely didn’t get what he was looking for on the celebration of his big 2-1.