Last night’s Game 1 between Boston and Tampa Bay certainly wasn’t one to remember for the Bruins as they were dropped hard by the Lightning 5-2. While the highlights were few and far between for the Bruins in such a miserable game, there was one bright spot and it came from the kid who had yet to see the ice in the playoffs until last night.
Rookie Tyler Seguin scored his first career playoff goal late in the first period and also earned an assist on Johnny Boychuk’s goal late in the third during the Bruins loss. With two points he was the Bruins lone bright spot of offense. What’s crazy is that Seguin saw just 9:38 of ice time in the game While he was able to maximize his usefulness in such limited time (only Shawn Thornton and Dan Paille played less minutes) you have to wonder if the Bruins would’ve benefited more from having him see more ice time.
CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty has a thought or two about this from last night as well as what Seguin thought of his offensive spark.
“[The goal] was definitely a bit of a relief. I think coming in the first period, I was definitely very excited,” said Seguin. “I found myself running around just a little bit just because I had so much legs I guess. After I had that goal, it was a bit of a sigh of relief and I could be more poised out there.”
Amazingly enough the Bruins were down 3-1 for much of Game 1, but Seguin still managed only two shifts and 1:51 of ice time in the middle 20 minutes when Claude Julien and Co. decided that his offensive skill, speed and passable grit were not needed.
Seguin playing as little time as he did in the second period while the game was still reachable is disappointing. Haggerty does point out that Seguin did play nearly five minutes worth of time in the third period as he was playing on a line with Brad Marchand and Chris Kelly and that he asserted himself well.
Of course, seeing ice time when you’re down three or four goals is almost like waving the white flag considering that he was playing on what was essentially a reworked third line. That’s not the sort of role you’re looking for from a kid with offensive skill to burn. With Patrice Bergeron out of the lineup for an unknown amount of time with a concussion, Seguin is getting his opportunity to contribute.
It’s great for him that he’s doing as much as he is given the number of minutes and shifts he’s seeing, but if the Bruins want to get more out of the kid they’ll need to put him on the ice more. If that means giving him a shot on the team’s brutally bad power play, so be it. Either way, Seguin showed enough in his Game 1 effort to earn him more ice time – whether or not Claude Julien gives it to him remains to be seen on Tuesday night.
For those Maple Leafs fans who once hoped Steven Stamkos would go to free agency and sign in Toronto, what transpired Tuesday will probably sting for a bit.
Playing in Toronto for the first time since he re-signed with the Lightning, opting not to test the open market and potentially signing with what is essentially his hometown team, Stamkos scored 1:19 into the contest, after getting sent in alone and beating goalie Frederik Andersen.
That one might hurt.
There was even a smattering of boos directed at Stamkos, who has never played a game for the Leafs, when he first touched the puck during Tuesday’s contest.
You’ll recall that last season, the Stamkos-to-Toronto speculation dominated headlines at times. A bit of a “circus,” indeed.
There were even ‘Sign Stamkos’ signs being handed out to fans prior to a game between the Lightning and Maple Leafs last season.
All signs pointed to it happening earlier in the day, but it is now official: Sidney Crosby is making his 2016-17 debut on Tuesday night when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Florida Panthers.
Crosby, the captain of the Penguins and the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner, missed the first six games of the season due to a concussion. He was injured during practice following the World Cup of Hockey where he led Canada to a championship. Given how much time he missed a few years ago with a concussion only missing six games a positive development for both him and the Penguins.
Crosby will open the game skating on the Penguins’ top line alongside wingers Patric Hornqvist and Scott Wilson.
Along with Crosby return to the lineup, goaltender Matt Murray is also in uniform for the Penguins for the first time this season and will serve as Marc-Andre Fleury‘s backup.
Murray, who took over the starting job in the playoffs last year when Fleury was sidelined at the start of the first round, was injured at the World Cup while playing for Team North America and has been sidelined since.
Even with the return of Crosby and Murray on Tuesday the Penguins are still missing a pretty significant player as defenseman Kris Letang remains sidelined with an upper body injury.
The Buffalo Sabres visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. This match-up features two teams off to slow starts and looking to work their way up the standings in their respective divisions.
You can check out the action on NBCSN or the NBC Sports’ Live Extra (7:30 pm ET).
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Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Flyers put Raffl (upper body) on IR
NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: Sabres vs. Flyers; Ducks vs. Sharks
Bylsma: ‘We need to get more’ out of Reinhart
After missing the last week with an upper-body ailment, Flyers forward Michael Raffl has been placed on injured reserve.
To fill his spot, the Flyers recalled Taylor Leier from AHL Lehigh Valley.
Raffl, 27, has appeared in three games this season, scoring once while averaging 12:21 TOI per night. He hasn’t suited up since a 7-4 loss to Chicago on Oct. 18, failing to suit up for Thursday’s loss to Anaheim, Saturday’s win over Carolina and yesterday’s 3-1 defeat in Montreal.
The Flyers are taking on Buffalo tonight (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
Philly could make this IR designation retroactive to last Tuesday, which is when Raffl last played. It’s unclear how GM Ron Hextall will handle Raffl’s $2.35 million cap hit with regards to IR, but he’ll need to do some adjusting soon once injured defenseman Michael Del Zotto and forward Scott Laughton get back in the mix.