Tyler Seguin's first two-goal game, a four-point effort in a Game 2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in last spring's Eastern Conference Finals, goes down in folklore. His second such game was another first, as the 19-year-old notched his first career hat trick in the Boston Bruins' 7-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre.
Coupled with Tuesday's 5-3 win over the red-hot Ottawa Senators, the Bruins have scored 12 goals in the past six periods, without a doubt their best week of hockey so far in the young season. At the forefront of the onslaught Saturday was Seguin, who finished plus-2 on three shots and 13:29 of ice time. He opened the scoring by breaking the Bruins' power-play slump at 6:23 of the first period, scoring off a cross-ice pass from Rich Peverley.
Seguin struck twice in the second period for the hat trick, first tipping a loose puck out of the air with the back of his stick blade 34 seconds into the stanza. After grimacing for a few moments on the bench following a huge hit from Joey Crabb in a one-on-one puck battle, he struck with just under five minutes to go in the period, taking a feed out of the slot from Patrice Bergeron in a 3-on-2 and beating Ben Scrivens short-side over his left shoulder, for a 4-0 lead.
Scoring in bunches: The Bruins' scores virtually came in pairs tonight. Eight seconds after Seguin's second goal, Milan Lucic found the back of the net, curling toward center ice after David Krejci won the faceoff and taking a feed that Zdeno Chara threaded through the neutral zone.
Later in the period, 14 seconds after Seguin's hat trick, Krejci put back a rebound at the open post, sending Scrivens to the bench. He was replaced by Jonas Gustavsson for the remainder of the game.
Gustavsson didn’t fare much better, giving up goals 28 seconds apart early in the third period from Lucic and Shawn Thornton.
Powered up: The Bruins came into Saturday’s contest having converted just five of their past 23 power plays, but they sprang to life tonight. On the Bruins’ first power play of the game, courtesy of a Crabb holding call, Seguin put back a one-timer from Peverley, beating Scrivens stick-side to go up 1-0 at 6:23.
It was a well-executed play, coming through the neutral zone with a 2-on-1 on the left side. Brad Marchand set a screen in front of Scrivens as the Leafs' penalty-kill unit came out in a high-triangle. From behind the right circle, Peverley pushed a pass through a seam in the slot, where a fading Seguin wound up and fired from the weak post.
The Bruins finished 1-for-2 on the man advantage.
Top line in top form: The top line of Krejci, Lucic and Nathan Horton combined for six points on the night, flexing that balance of physicality and scoring touch that had been missing at times to start the season. Lucic finished with two goals and an assist, while Krejci had a goal and two helpers.
Kessel Count: This was the Phil Kessel that Bruins fans are used to seeing when the Leafs' leading scorer faces his old team. Kessel registered two shots on goal, and finished minus-1. In 15 career games against the Bruins, Kessel has eight points and is minus-9.
Thomas shines: Debuting his “Grow Your Mo” mask, which he will auction off at the end of the month as part of the “Movember” celebration, Tim Thomas was terrific in net, with 25 saves in a shutout. It was the usual flopping, acrobatic antics that are his calling card, with arguably his best save coming in the opening period.
This was his 27th career shutout, and third of his career against the Leafs.
Bergy keeps points streak going: With three helpers, Bergeron brought his points streak to six games. He has three goals and five assists over the span.
Dominating the Leafs: On the season, the Bruins are 2-0 against the Leafs and outscored them 13-2.
No line changes: Dennis Seidenberg and Rich Peverley, who both missed two straight practices earlier this week with maintenance days, were in the lineup Saturday. Benoit Pouliot and Steven Kampfer were once again the healthy scratches.
The lines looked like this:
Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin
Dan Paille, Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg