Tyler Seguin Taking His Shots For The Bruins

“What’s wrong with Tyler Seguin?”

It’s a common question these days, one that I get asked all too often by those who know that I follow / cover the Boston Bruins. Often, my response is some combination of “he’s shooting the puck and creating chances but just not finding the back of the net” / “he’s still young and benefiting from developing in a winning culture” / “damned if I know.” But based on his performance in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, he made it pretty easy to answer that question this morning: “not much.”

Tyler Seguin of the Boston Bruins (Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE)
Tyler Seguin of the Boston Bruins (Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE)

The first thing we all look at in terms of production is goals and points. Check Seguin’s 2013 playoff stats and, to be frank, they’re not great: 18 GP, 1 G, 5 A, -1. It’s based on that information that the questions arise, and that’s fair; quite honestly, one expects more from a 2nd overall pick, and many (including this Puck Daddy post and various tweets such as the one below) have pointed out the fact that Seguin’s star has not risen during the Bruins latest playoff run.

https://twitter.com/Jeffler/status/345025091584798720

But from a different angle (via Behind The Net), a more complete picture develops which, put in its proper context, begins to shed a new light on the matter.

At 5 on 5, Seguin has scored once, has had 46 shots saved, and has missed the net 15 times. This equals a total of 62 even strength shot attempts, good for 2nd on the Bruins behind Johnny Boychuk of all people. This also amount to a +8.59 On Ice Corsi rating, good for 5th among all Bruins forwards. On the power play, Seguin leads the Bruins with 15 shots attempts; no goals, but he does have 3 assists on the man advantage. All told, and according to NHL.com, Seguin ranks 5th in the playoffs with 64 shots on net.

In short, Tyler Seguin has been taking shots from observers, but has literally been shooting from all angles during this playoff run. But of course it’s the miniscule 1.6 shooting % that is the real issue, and the 1 lone goal that sticks out the most.

(Interesting side note: Seguin has 6 more shots than Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, and the same amount of goals.)

(Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports)
Daniel Paille (Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports)

One of the reasons (if not THE reason) why Seguin’s S% has dipped from 9.9% in the regular season to 1.6% in the playoffs is his line assignment. Seguin benefited from running with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand earlier this year, without question the Bruins top unit during the regular season. With the addition of Jaromir Jagr, Seguin has found himself on the 3rd line, with the likes of Rich Peverley (1 G, 0 A during the playoffs), Kaspars Daugavins (0’s through 4 games) and Chris Kelly (0’s through the playoffs, until Game 2 of the SCF). Take Seguin off the second line and put him on a unit that has underwhelmed all year, and of course you’re going to see a dip in his production. He’s been firing from all angles and doing all he can to produce and contribute, but just hasn’t been running with the same breed of horse.

That all changed a bit on Saturday night when Claude Julien mercifully shook things up among the bottom 6 forwards, a group that has been lacking some serious “je ne said quoi” since Gregory Campbell went down with a broken leg. Julien decided to throw Seguin out with Chris Kelly and Daniel Paille, a combo that thrived to the tune of both Bruins goals. Kelly got his first goal / point in 23 games (dating back to April 21st) from Paille late in the second, and then Seguin – after a nice pinch from Adam McQuaid – made a perfect pass over to Paille who buried this OT winner for Boston.

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A small adjustment that paid big dividends for the Bruins, who appeared to be DOA after being badly outplayed by Chicago in the first, to the tune of a 19-4 shot disadvantage. All credit needs to go to Tuukka Rask (whose Conn case grows nightly) for keeping the Bruins in it long enough to find their legs, and to the trio of Kelly – Seguin – Paille for finding a way to manufacture a couple of large goals that allowed the Bruins to return to Boston with a much needed road split.

And clearly Seguin, who just so happened to be mic’d up during Game 2, was pumped to be part of the GWG:

Said Paille about Seguin’s game on Saturday night (via @NHLBruins):

he looked like he was a mission today.

Well, mission accomplished, for one night anyway. For the Bruins to succeed in this series, they will need continued contributions from guys not named Krejci, Horton, Lucic and Bergeron, and hopefully this performance will only serve to boost Tyler Seguin’s confidence and ultimately his shooting percentage. And hopefully the guy that took his spot on his old line can find the net at some point as well, after coming oh so close to ending Game 2 in OT just minutes before Paille’s goal.

Game 3 goes Monday in Boston. It’s a best of 5 affair now, so buckle up.

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