BOSTON, MA – Turning 21 usually entails a big night of celebration with friends. Tonight, facing off against Buffalo at TD Garden, Tyler Seguin will be celebrating his big day with his teammates and 17,565 of his closest pals. It will be all business once the game starts, though, as the winger tries to get his game back on track.
Seguin dominated in Switzerland during the work stoppage, scoring 25 goals in just 29 games with EHC Biel. But the B’s young star has had trouble re-adjusting to the ice surface – European ice is almost 15 feet wider – and the larger, more physical NHLers.
“Yeah, of course it’s going to take some time to get adjusted, I can’t lie,” Seguin acknowledged, following today’s morning skate. “[The ice is] so much smaller, the guys are better and bigger here, so it takes away some of that time and space from your game.”
No. 19 potted his lone goal of the season against the Hurricanes on Monday, though it was an empty-netter, and scored twice in the shootout against the Devils Tuesday – thanks to a mysterious, unidentified food object that was thrown across the ice - on the back of a shootout tally against Winnipeg on January 21.
He knows the real goals will come and is hoping to build off the past two games and bring his confidence into tonight, against the Sabres.
“I’m hoping no hot dogs or bananas or whatever are thrown tonight,” the birthday boy joked, following this morning’s skate. “Obviously, it’s tough not bearing down on some chances, not getting goals, but, in the end, I think you have to be a confident person, you can’t lose that no matter what’s happening.
“[I’m] still staying focused, staying with it and it’s going to come eventually. But, we’re getting some wins, so that’s all that matters.”
Head Coach Claude Julien has noticed Seguin being a bit off, so far, and he, too, believes that playing in Europe threw off the winger’s game.
“Well I think he is out of sync,” said Julien, earlier this week. “I think where the puck battles are along the boards, I think are somewhere where he’s always going to have to work a little harder at to get better because he’s always played center, and center you’re always the support guy. He didn’t have to battle as much along the boards, so he’s been put in the position that he hasn’t really played his whole life until he came here in Boston so that’s maybe a little bit of it.
“But he has been out of sync because of the way they play in Europe on the bigger ice surface. [The game] is passive, more passive over there, so he’s got more time and then more room, and with Tyler if you give him time and space, it’s going to make something happen.
“It’s a little more aggressive, a little tighter here, and he’s readjusting, and we hope that that goal [against Carolina] really helped him get himself back on track and get a little bit of that confidence back.”
Seguin has had plenty of chances through the first six games, tallying 18 shots on goal, good for second on the team behind linemate Patrice Bergeron.
So many chances and so little to show for them must have him feeling snake-bitten, right?
“Of course I’ve felt snake-bitten, ever since the first game [against the Rangers] when I walked in all alone on the goalie and went five-hole. Maybe I scored too much in Switzerland, I don’t know, but I know it’s going to come eventually.”
The winger admitted that his lack of production has been frustrating and has led to him pressing a bit, but he won’t let that bring down the other parts of his game.
“Yeah, when you’re not scoring and you want to be scoring, I mean, you’re still getting opportunities, you can’t be too mad at yourself or pressure yourself too much,” said Seguin, on if he is pressing. But, I think I’m still doing the little things right, whether it’s in my own end, making short chips, or winning battles, I think I’m doing that to a good level and can still improve in that. With that, I think the goals will come as well.”
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