After putting together impressive performances in Games 6 and 7 against the Washington Capitals last spring, and after taking the Swiss-A League by storm during the lockout, Tyler Seguin was supposed to pick up right where he left off when returning to Boston for the shortened 2013 National Hockey League season.
So far, nothing has gone according to plan. Instead of being one of the leading scorers on the Bruins, the former No. 2 overall pick has tallied just one goal and four points through the first seven games. And clearly, the now 21-year old forward has been snakebitten.
Case in point during the Bruins’ first regulation loss to the Buffalo Sabres Thursday night at the TD Garden. Seguin had a few golden opportunities, including a 2-on-1 during the second period, but his shot sailed over Ryan Miller’s short side shoulder.
Seguin was not the only one who couldn’t capitalize on his chances as Miller and the Buffalo D stymied the Bruins – particularly in the last 20 minutes. And it is a good reason why the Black and Gold are sitting tied with the Ottawa Senators for first place in the Northeast Division standings.
“Once again, a lot of chances,” Seguin said after the 7-4 loss Thursday, “individually and as a team.”
Perhaps he hasn’t quite adjusted to the NHL game again quite yet. Perhaps he’s still used to the bigger sheet of ice over in Europe. And perhaps he hasn’t been able to overcome the stinger defenses in North America.
Either way, these issues are frustrating for Seguin in the early part of the shortened campaign. And while it’s certainly troubling so far, Bruins fans shouldn’t be overly concerned about Seguin’s early slump just yet.
“He’s such a great player that goals are going to come,” said fellow linemate Brad Marchand, who currently leads the team in goals with five.
“There’s nothing to worry about there. He’s very talented and he’s getting his opportunities and eventually they are going to go in.”
While The Hub of Hockey hopes to see Seguin contribute more on the scoresheet, there are some little things he is doing well. One of those was evident on Marchand’s second goal Thursday night.
In a flashback of his last two goals of the playoffs, Seguin battled hard to keep the puck in the Sabres end. After a flurry in front of Miller, Seguin went to front of the net to screen the Sabres goalie and Marchand was able to find the back of the net for his fifth of the season midway through the middle stanza.
That is a good sighting for head coach Claude Julien, who sees Seguin eventually overcoming this early season adversity.
“He’ll find his way,” said the Bruins bench boss. “I know it’s hard to look at those things because there are other things that stick out to Tyler’s play. But he was a little more assertive – especially early on in the game – and as we mentioned he played a big role in Marchy’s goal. But you know with assertiveness comes confidence and with confidence comes the rest of his game, so he’s working through that right now.”
While he’s certainly frustrated, Seguin knows he can improve as we officially enter February.
“What do you want me to say? I’m trying, I’m getting opportunities, they’re not going in,” Seguin said. “I can’t say that I regret things that I did. I was trying different things, I was shooting in every different spot, it’s not going in. That’s all I’ve got to say about that. Got to be better.”