BOSTON – Tyler Seguin is enjoying the love of the Boston fans and seeing what can happen when things go the other way.
Seguin scored his first goal at home Thursday night in Boston’s 2-0 victory over Toronto, the team that traded the Bruins the pick they used to select him No. 2 overall in the NHL draft. The Maple Leafs got Phil Kessel, who was mocked and booed by the crowd as he fell to 0-4 in Boston since the trade, with just a single assist in seven games against his former team.
“He must be doing something right if they’re doing that,” Seguin said. “I like to say I hope I’ll get booed in an arena. But hopefully it won’t be Boston.”
So far, so good. Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the game that Seguin would stay with the team for the rest of the season; Boston had the option to send him back to juniors after nine games.
“I just found out,” Seguin said in the hallway after Julien spoke to reporters.
Patrice Bergeron scored his first goal of the season for the Bruins. Tim Thomas stopped 20 shots to earn his second shutout and remain unbeaten for the season, improving to 5-0 with a 0.60 goals-against average; Tuukka Rask was in goal for the Bruins’ only two losses.
“I feel good. It’s fun to play right now,” Thomas said. “It was easier to focus on a shutout because we couldn’t afford to give up a goal and let them back in.”
Jonas Gustavsson stopped 30 shots for the Maple Leafs, but he didn’t get any help from an offence that has scored just seven goals in its last five games.
“Their goalie made some good saves,” Leafs defenceman Dion Phaneuf said. “He was hot. We threw everything at him we could.”
No sooner had Seguin beaten Gustavsson to give Boston a 1-0 lead with 41 seconds left in the first period than the sold-out crowd broke into a mocking chant of “Thank you, Kessel!”
“I could care less. Doesn’t matter to me one bit,” Kessel said, shrugging his shoulders and scrunching up his face. “I just couldn’t bury my chances. What can you do?”
The chant was repeated when Seguin broke free on Gustavsson with seven minutes left in the third but missed when he was slashed from behind. Fans wanted a penalty shot, but they soon returned to mocking Kessel, a talented goal-scorer who was criticized in Boston for not being tough enough.
Kessel had told management he wanted to play elsewhere, and the Bruins obliged by trading him to Toronto in 2009 for two first-round draft picks and a second-rounder. Kessel entered the night third in the NHL with seven goals, but he hasn’t been able to break through against Boston.
“The pressure being put on him doesn’t mean he doesn’t try or work hard,” Julien said. “I just think we do a real good job playing against him.”
Seguin topped that when he slapped home a pass from Dennis Seidenberg with 41 seconds left in the first period. The Bruins made it 2-0 in the second period when Zdeno Chara slid a pass along the blue line to Bergeron, who one-timed it into the net for the 100th goal of his career.
The Bruins have allowed 11 goals in seven games—the fewest in the league.
NOTES: The Bruins honoured former captain, coach and GM Milt Schmidt before the game. Schmidt received miniature replicas of the two Stanley Cups he won as a player, then told the crowd: “The spoked ‘B’ is practically my family crest. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.” … The last Bruin to open a season with four wins was Doug Keans in 1987-88. … The Bruins said that Johnny Boychuk, who broke his left arm last game, would miss a month. … Toronto centre Colby Armstrong is out for four to six weeks and will require finger surgery.