MONTREAL – Playing before a noisy sellout crowd at the Bell Centre was an ideal place for Tyler Seguin’s NHL debut.
The second overall draft pick of the Boston Bruins picked up an assist in a 4-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in the opening pre-season game for both teams on Wednesday night.
“Before the game, sitting in the dressing room, and seeing there’s 21,000 people there, I got the shivers, but it’s something I’ll get used to,” said the 18-year-old Seguin, a speedy, play making forward who otherwise had a quiet game. “I made a couple of errors in the first period, but I felt more confident and comfortable after that.
“In the OHL, you can hold onto the puck a lot longer. In the NHL, it’s bam, bam bam. But there is time out there. I think I went too fast.”
On a power play midway through the first period, Seguin got the better of veteran Jeff Halpern on a faceoff and Johnny Boychuk beat Carey Price with a point shot to give Boston a 2-0 lead. He finished with two of Boston’s 16 shots in 15:05 of ice time.
Coach Claude Julien liked what he say from the highly-touted forward, who is seeing action at both centre and on the wing. Seguin mainly skated on a line with Blake Wheeler and veteran Mark Recchi.
“With Tyler, you can see a lot of potential and skill,” said Julien. “What he has to learn is the little things.
“A couple of times he got caught up the middle trying to stickhandle through two or three guys. You can’t do that in this league. But it was a good game for him.”
Julien had praise for rookie winger Jordan Caron, who he said looked like a veteran with his strong positioning and play along the boards.
It was also a first NHL exhibition game for Louis Leblanc, Montreal’s first draft pick in 2009. The Montreal native was held off the scoresheet and was minus-1, but had three of the Canadiens 38 shots on Tukka Rask in 11:10 of ice time.
“The first period was a learning process, I was getting the butterflies out, but the second and third went well,” said Leblanc, who left Harvard University to play for the Montreal Juniors this season. “I felt good.”
“Coach (Kirk) Muller said to just enjoy the experience. It’s the Bell Centre. He told me to have fun.”