BOSTON – Often times when a player is entrenched in a slump, he doesn’t know what to do. Doesn’t know where to turn. Doesn’t know how to get out. In an age where player-coach relationships are as important as ever, Tyler Seguin, who recently sought help from his coach, gets it.
‘Tyler wanted to know how he could help the team,” coach Claude Julien said at Wednesday’s morning skate. “Today it’s a different concept. Players want to know, they need guidance. You give it to them. They know that door has always been open for conversation. Doesn’t mean they will hear what they want to hear, but they’ll hear the truth.”
Seguin, the former second-overall pick and third-year pro, struggled mightily the first three rounds of the playoffs. Then, something clicked. The young star registered points in three straight Stanley Cup Final games, and appeared to be back on the path to above-average play.
In a crucial Game 4 in which the Bruins looked to take a commanding 3-1 series lead, Seguin made a mental mistake just five minutes in. Turning the puck over at Chicago’s blue line on the man advantage proved costly, as Michal Handzus turned it into a shorthanded tally for the Blackhawks.
After the Bruins tied it up with a special teams goal of their own, Seguin and linemates Chris Kelly and Daniel Paille had two great shifts, almost giving the team a 2-1 lead, but the game entered intermission tied at one.
Early in the second period the Blackhawks got a great look for Duncan Keith off a drop pass, but it was Seguin with the diving effort to break up the shot, which could have easily been a goal for Chicago. This is an effort we’ve seen from Seguin more often as his game’s developed, but he and the rest of Boston’s forwards need to do a better job defensively, which was a key aspect in many of Chicago’s Game 4 goals.
Seguin, who turned the puck over on the Blackhawks’ first goal, was also on the ice for their third tally. He needs to be more effective in forming the defensive layers that make the Bruins so frustrating to play against.
They often say the two-goal lead is the most dangerous in hockey, and after Marcus Kruger scored on an odd-man rush due to an ineffective Dennis Seidenberg pinch, the Bruins seemed to find their extra gear.
Scoring two goals in a row, the black and gold had tied things up. Seguin, who had a pretty rough start to this game, was a key contributor in the power-play goal that cut the Bruins deficit to one.
After three more third period goals sent the game to overtime, Brent Seabrook won it for the Hawks with a blast from the point.
Maybe some of the Bruins should follow Seguin’s lead, and seek help from their coach. The black and gold had some good moments, particularly coming back from a late two-goal deficit, but they certainly got away from their identity Wednesday, which played right into Chicago’s style.
“I think our decision making wasn’t very good at times,” said Julien postgame. “Didn’t think we were moving the puck as well as we had been in the past. It was certainly a tough outing for us tonight. They came out hard, played extremely well. Somehow, again, they had the better of us for the first of the game until we got ourselves going here a little bit.”