That they lost last night’s game in overtime at Nashville and still did plenty wrong shouldn’t overshadow what the Bruins accomplished offensively.
In a minor miracle, they actually got goals from three different lines in one game.
In addition to the team’s usual goal off the stick of a first-line player from David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin also scored. Michael Ryder, skating on the second line with Bergeron and Mark Recchi, fired seven shots on goal. Imagine what the Bruins could accomplish if they not only replicate Thursday’s offensive effort, but actually finisha couple more times. In fact, the same type of effort against a lesser goalie than Vezina Trophy contender Pekke Rinne probably will probably produce five or six goals.
For Ryder, it was obvious from the second the puck dropped that while he said things to the contrary, his benching in Columbus impacted him. Julien lauded the veteran’s effort after the 4-3 loss.
“He played a lot harder tonight. I thought you saw him, even early in the game there, winning more battles along the board in our own end and competing harder, and consequently was a better player for us tonight. So I didn’t mind his game at all,” Julien told the media after the game.
Ryder now hasn’t scored a goal in his last seven games, but he recorded his second assist over that same stretch.
Bergeron’s goal snapped a seven-game point-less drought. Frankly, a slump that long is unacceptable for a second-line center who gets so much power-play time and usually skates alongside one of the team’s top goal-scorers in Brad Marchand. Julien is hoping Bergeron’s first goal in a while (since Feb. 26) gets the alternate captain on a roll.
“Hopefully that’s a lot of weight off his shoulders, scoring a goal and getting back on the score sheet,’’ Julien said.
As for Seguin, it was great to see him use his speed to get behind the Nashville defense and then “take a hit” from Patric Hornqvist, who gave Seguin a bloody ear and was shown the gate for an elbowing major and game misconduct from the referees.
Julien, who has obviously decided to take the tact of pumping up the struggling rookie, had kind words for Seguin.
“And I thought even Tyler – we talked about Tyler the other day – and I thought he played well and skated, competed a little better,” said the coach.
Obviously, the fact that he contributed at all and didn’t just skate blue line to blue line praying the puck didn’t come to him was an improvement for Seguin.
Assessing Seguin’s play really depends on how high you hold the bar. I believe that now that we’re in the middle of March and Seguin has been a healthy scratch a few times and has played on the fourth line a few times, he should be ready to put his third-line minutes to better use and get more involved. There were so many times he skated away from the battle the rest of the night after his goal. And after the goal, you could probably count the seconds the puck was on his stick on your hands.
Nonetheless, at this point anything the Bruins get from Seguin is gravy. It’s obvious this is his lost year and he won’t be in the mix come playoff time.
The guys that will have to produce in the postseason — Bergeron, Ryder, Recchi — but haven’t lately, are the ones to be most concerned about. If their play against the Predators was an indication, those worries could be allayed over the course of the next couple weeks — and they better be, or the Bruins might be hitting the road for a series-opening game come the second week of April.