– Normally, Tyler Seguin
is streaking down the ice en route to a highlight reel goal. Sunday night, in the Bruins 3-2 win over Winnipeg, he turned on the jets to make a play at the opposite end of the ice.
No. 19’s hustle play to breakup a potential three-on-two opportunity in the first period, should be getting the attention on the highlight shows Monday morning.
Seguin skated all the way from the middle of the offensive zone, through the neutral zone, and made a full-out dive to swat the puck away and thwart Winnipeg’s chance at a scoring opportunity.
It was, perhaps, Seguin’s best game of the season. The 21-year-old played a much-improved defensive game, displaying a willingness to engage in battles all over the ice.
“Those plays are what the boys praise the most,” Seguin said of his diving play on the backcheck. “You get more pats on the back for those type of efforts, whether it’s me or anybody else on the team. You always let them know when they did something well like that. It’s kind of more [important] than scoring or making a good play.
“The big thing is our team is defense, which we did well tonight.”
While Seguin was showing his grittiness on the defensive end for most of the game, the winger also showed a desire to get dirty in front of the opposing net.
Midway through the second period, with the Bruins trailing, 1-0, Seguin, who has been somewhat snakebitten thus far – he had just two goals heading into Sunday’s game – did a drive-by in front of Jets’ goalie Ondrej Pavelec.
With the help of some tremendous hand-eye coordination, he was able to tip a Zdeno Chara wrister from the point, into the back of the net.
After a review, the call on the ice was confirmed, and Seguin had his third goal of the season.
It was not his typical type of goal.
“It feels good every single time,” said Seguin of getting on the score sheet. “Even though it’s a tip, which is usually not my game – besides [having] three tips tonight – I’ll take it.
“It was kind of just a last second thing trying to [get to] the net as quick as I could. Zee wasn’t taking a slap shot there, he kind of wristed it. I got as close as I could to the net, put my stick out, and I’m pretty sure I closed my eyes, so [I’m] lucky it went in.”
With the way things have been going for him offensively, Seguin thought for sure that the goal would be overturned when the referees went to the scorer’s table for the review.
“A hundred percent,” he said, when asked if he thought the goal would be overturned. “The only thing I was thinking on the bench was it’s not even going to count on a high-stick or something. Because when the play did happen – I can’t remember if I was battling with the guy – I put my stick down and my eyes shut, so I wasn’t sure what exactly happened. But, I saw the replay and didn’t think it was a high stick.”
Seguin, who leads the Bruins in plus/minus at plus-9, said it was nice to get a blue-collar goal. It represented the one thing he has been told lately: elevate his compete level.
“When I’m not scoring or producing – the guys see it – you get frustrated,” Seguin admitted. “You’ve just got to stay with it. One message I seemed to get was to just keep battling, take the good [play] to another level – the compete level – and that’s what I tried to do tonight”
B’s Head Coach, Claude Julien, was happy to see his rising star respond and have a solid all-around game in the victory.
“I thought he was another guy that played well tonight,” Julien told the media following the win. “You look at that backcheck he made, when he had his stick down to break up a play. That’s what he’s capable of doing.
“He’s a good player, he’s still a young player and he just needs to build confidence in wanting to do that night-in and night-out. You’ve got to be willing to put the work in, then, all of a sudden, the skill takes over.
“I thought he responded well tonight in a game that we really needed him to be good.”