BOSTON – Tyler Seguin has accomplished plenty before his 21st birthday.
Next week, he’ll try to add to the list.
A Stanley Cup champion as a rookie, Seguin followed that up by becoming the youngest player to lead the Boston Bruins in scoring. The second-year star had two goals on Saturday to lead the defending champs into their title defence with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Buffalo Sabres.
“It’s definitely an honour,” Seguin, who credited linemates Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. “With how much chemistry they had already from last year, going all the way with the same line to the Stanley Cup championship … It was nice to step on that line, and hopefully we’re going to get better.”
Seguin finished with 29 goals and 67 points at 20 years, 2 months and 7 days to lead the Original Six team in scoring. Bergeron was about six months older when he led the team in scoring in 2005-06.
Bergeron had three assists in regulation and the game-winner in the shootout on Saturday. Marchand also scored for Boston, which had already clinched the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Bruins will open the playoffs against Washington as they try to become the first NHL team to win back-to-back championships since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98.
“We’ve got as good a chance as anybody else to win,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “It’s hard to repeat nowadays, and it certainly hasn’t been done in a long time. We’re going to try to achieve that.”
Brad Boyes scored twice for the Sabres, who were eliminated from playoff contention on Thursday. Buffalo finished with 89 points—three points out of eighth place.
Tim Thomas stopped 25 shots for the Bruins.
Jhonas Enroth made 37 saves for Buffalo.
It was a game that had the potential for great importance even this week, when Buffalo was chasing Washington for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. But the Sabres lost to the Flyers on Thursday night to lose their chance to pass the Capitals, and Saturday’s game became a meaningless tuneup for both teams.
“It’s no better playing games that don’t mean anything,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “It isn’t a lot of fun.”
It was scoreless after one period and 1-1 after two when Boyes and Jason Pominville scored less than two minutes apart to give Buffalo a 3-1 lead with 11:14 to play. Seguin cut the deficit to one goal just 70 seconds later, then Marchand tied it with about 8 minutes left, giving rise to a “We want the Cup!” chant from the Boston fans.
The Bruins outshot the Sabres 5-0 in overtime but couldn’t score.
The first four skaters missed in the shootout before Bergeron put it between Enroth’s legs. Thomas stopped Pominville to end it.
Notes: The Bruins announced their 125th consecutive sellout, including playoffs. They have sold out every game of each of the past two seasons. … The Bruins regular season awards were announced before the game: Zdeno Chara was the recipient of the Eddie Shore Award for exceptional hustle and determination. Brad Marchand earned both the Elizabeth Dufresne Trophy for outstanding performance during home games and the John P. Bucyk Award for greatest off-ice charitable contributions. Tim Thomas, Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic were named the Bruins Three Stars.