At 10:57 of Sunday’s second period, Tyler Seguin tipped a Zdeno Chara floater past Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec to tie the game at 1-1.
Given Seguin’s struggles this season, the third-year pro wasn’t surprised when referees Don VanMassenhoven and Wes McCauley paused to review the goal from the Toronto war room.
Video replay confirmed that Seguin’s stick was below the crossbar at the time of the tip. But Seguin still held his breath while the referees waited for the call from Toronto.
“Hundred percent,” Seguin said with a smile when asked if he thought his goal would be waved off. “The only thing I was doing on the bench was thinking, ‘It’s not even going to count. It’s a high stick or something.’ When the play did happen, I can’t remember if I was battling with a guy, but I put my stick there with my eyes shut. I was not sure what exactly happened. But I saw the replay and I didn’t think it was a high stick.”
Seguin’s hand-eye coordination was one reason he succeeded on the tip. But Seguin’s willingness to dip his skates into the hard-hat zone was the other factor. When Chara loaded up his wrister, Seguin circled into the slot. Jets defensemen Ron Hainsey and Dustin Byfuglien were ready to punish any intruders. Seguin gained separation from Hainsey to tip the shot.
Seguin’s inconsistency stems from his flickering battle level in the brutish areas of the rink. It’s hard to score dirty goals when you’re a perimeter player.
But during Sunday’s 3-2 win over the Jets, Seguin played a gritty game. It was the type of effort that can bust slumps.
“That’s what he’s capable of doing,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “He’s a good player. He’s still a young player. He just needs to build confidence and want to do that night in and night out. You’ve got to be willing to put the work in. All of a sudden, the skill takes over. I thought he responded well tonight in a game where we really needed him to be good.”
Seguin’s best play away from the puck took place in the third period. The Jets had numbers rushing toward Tuukka Rask. Seguin, on the backcheck, dived to bust up a net-front play.
“Those plays are what the boys praise the most,” Seguin said. “You get more pats on the back for those types of efforts. Whether it’s me or anybody else on the team, you always let them know when you’re doing something well like that. It’s kind of more than scoring a goal or making a good play. A big thing on our team is defense and pushbacks, which we did pretty well [Sunday].”
Trade season already
The Bruins have played a league-low 13 games. But based on their 2010-11 history, they are already in a deal-making stretch.
At this time two years ago, they already had traded for Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley, and Tomas Kaberle. They acquired Kelly from Ottawa on Feb. 15, 2011. Three days later, the Bruins landed Peverley and Boris Valabik from Atlanta. Later that day, Kaberle traveled from Toronto to Ottawa to play in the Bruins’ 4-2 win over the Senators.
This season, the Bruins are in the hunt for a scoring wing. They are averaging 2.69 goals per game. Lately, they have generated scoring chances but haven’t finished as well.
Their biggest need is at left wing on the third line, a position once held by Benoit Pouliot and Michael Ryder. Against the Jets, Chris Bourque submitted his best performance of the season. Bourque finished the game on the first line.
But Bourque hasn’t provided the consistent offensive presence the Bruins would like on the third line. Kelly is also struggling. The No. 3 center hasn’t scored a goal.
The Dallas Stars entered Monday’s games in seventh place in the Western Conference. Ryder could be available if Dallas falls out of the top eight. Ryder will be an unrestricted free agent at year’s end. The ex-Bruin is carrying a $3.5 million annual cap hit, which his former team could absorb.
The Bruins would have to put draft picks in play to acquire a scoring wing such as Ryder. Prospects who might be available include Torey Krug, Carter Camper, Matt Grzelcyk, and Alexander Khokhlachev. They have two goalies in Niklas Svedberg and Malcolm Subban who project to be NHLers. But given the upcoming contract status of Rask (restricted) and Anton Khudobin (unrestricted), it’s doubtful the Bruins would put either Svedberg or Subban on the market.
The Bruins were given Monday off and will practice Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena before leaving for Tampa Wednesday . . . Julien and seven players visited Newtown, Conn., Monday and will honor Sandy Hook Elementary School vice principal Natalie Green Hammond March 3 at TD Garden against the Canadiens. Green Hammond, a lifelong Bruins fan, will drop the ceremonial first puck.