New York, NY - Being a highly touted second overall draft pick with offensive fire power and the ability to dangle with the best of them, Tyler Seguin could have let that moniker dictate his time in the league.
Instead, the center turned winger has not only showcased his finishing touch, but also the improvement of his two-way play. Coming out of the 2011-12 campaign, Seguin was a plus-34 on the season, and he and his linemates picked up a plus-1 in Boston's 2-1 shootout win over Winnipeg on Monday.
And when the B's were down early 1-0 to the Jets, it was a heads up play by No. 19 that helped get his team on the board. After linemate Patrice Bergeron disrupted Winnipeg's Andrew Ladd in the neutral zone, it was Seguin who raced in and picked off Ladd's attempted exit pass, drew the defenders to him and set up Brad Marchand crashing the net.
"Obviously, everyone knows that’s been a big thing for me the last two-and-a-half years now, just improving my defensive zone game and that kind of play as well," said Seguin following Monday's win. "Picking up on a loose puck, creating an opportunity from making a good D play. A lot of times it works out."
The B's forward also received praise from his head coach and constant role model Patrice Bergeron, who is considered one of the best two-way players in the league.
"I think that’s a little bit of a good instinct, he showed that even last game. We had a four-on-four and he cut off a pass just inside the blue line as well," said B's bench boss Claude Julien. "I think those kind of things, in his situation, pay off because of the skill level."
"Once he turns the puck over and gets going on the offense, he becomes a dangerous player."
And Bergeron knows his younger linemate's two-way game is only on the upswing.
"We talked about it a lot. I think, he really wants to learn, he wants to improve," said the Bruins alternate captain. "Let’s give him a lot of credit for that, he’s got such a talent offensively that he wouldn’t need to do that [improve his defensive play]."
"But, he wants to go the extra mile, get better and to improve his game. I think that’s going to make him that much better and he’s a smart player out there. If he uses that vision that he has offensively, he’s going to be hard to beat."
Although Seguin has not scored yet through the first two games of the season, the forward has one assist and is currently leading the B's with a plus-3 rating. He knows he just needs to stick with it, and his offensive touch will come.
"Bear down. That’s kind of it," Seguin said following Tuesday's practice on his ability to generate several chances around the net but not cash in on them. "Obviously, I take lots of blame for that, I had a lot of missed opportunities where I’m just not bearing down on my stick and put it in empty nets."
"It’s as simple as that. Maybe more focus. Working hard in practice and cashing in on every opportunity."
But when the Black & Gold head out onto Madison Square Garden ice Wednesday night, they know that the goals will come eventually, as long as they maintain their strong defense, beginning with Tuukka Rask and working their way out to the O-zone.
"Our main priority is being good in our end," said Chris Kelly before hitting the road for New York to face the Rangers. "The offensive chances will come, we got 20 guys that can score in this locker room."
"That’s kind of our mindset is to take care of our own end and the offense will come."