BOSTON — Tyler Seguin always seems to have a little extra jump in his step against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
For two reasons.
The first is that Seguin hails from Brampton, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto, which means family and friends come out when the Bruins play up there and pay extra attention to the other games on television.
The seconds reason, one more important to Bruins fans, is that Seguin is one of the two key players taken in the draft as part of the deal that sent Phil Kessel to the Leafs.
Seguin, who has killed his old hometown team, scored two more goals and added an assist in Thursday night’s 4-2 Bruins victory that ended their two-game losing streak and stopped Toronto’s three-game winning run.
“I like to say no,” Seguin said when asked if he has a little extra jump in his step against the Maple Leafs.
The stats say otherwise. In 14 career games against Toronto, Seguin has 10 goals and six assists.
“I try to prepare for every game,” Seguin said.
When asked the same question, Bruins coach Claude Julien said, “I think it’s a little bit normal. He comes from there and it’s always exciting when you’re playing your hometown; but I think at the same time he’s been playing much better in the last couple of weeks.
“He’s really picked up his game, so hopefully it’s just a continuation of what we’ll see from him from until the end of the year.”
Seguin was the first benefit of the deal that sent restricted free agent Kessel to Toronto. Rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton was the other major chip that wound up in Boston’s camp.
The Bruins won their eighth straight against the Leafs, with Seguin’s line doing most of the damage. Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists and Brad Marchand also posted two assists as Boston improved to 15-3-3.
The line has accounted for 37 points over the last nine games.
Kessel? Another unproductive night against his old team. Boston fans boo him every time he touches the puck, and chanted “Thank you, Kessel after Seguin’s first goal. But the Bruins fans should be cheering No. 81. In 20 games against Boston, he has three goals, six assists and is a minus-19.
It’s no secret that the Leafs (15-10-0) are one of the more-improved teams in the NHL. But they still can’t beat the Bruins, even when they play a good game, which they did in this one.
“I thought we worked extremely hard,” said Toronto coach Randy Carlyle. “I think we did a lot of things that we are asking of our group and we were not rewarded for the work that I think we put in.”
Seguin scored his sixth and seventh goals of the season, the second one into an empty net after the Leafs closed their deficit to one on a Jay McClement tip-in with 5:08 left. The Bruins blew a 3-0 lead and lost in overtime in Washington Tuesday night. This time, they held on to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the lockout-shortened season.
Bergeron (No. 6) cashed in a rebound of an explosive Seguin rush (after Marchand did great work to get the puck off the boards at center ice. David Krejci (also No. 6, second in the last 10 games) also beat goalie Ben Scrivens.
Backup Anton Khudobin made 25 saves to run his record to 4-1 for Boston.
Seguin, who played over in Switzerland during the lockout and said Thursday night he couldn’t remember getting hit at all over there, got off to a slow start but he’s clearly playing better, with 12 points in the last 10 games. Overall, he has 18 points in 21 games.
And Thursday night meant another shot at the Leafs.
“He always seems to play well against Toronto and I always enjoy playing on his line when we’re playing them,” said Marchand, who has eight points in the last four games. “But he’s definitely got something to prove, and being from there he’s got a lot of people watching him, so it’s fun to see.”
The sizzling Nasim Kadri (No. 11, six in the last four games) scored Toronto’s first goal, tying the game 2:32 into the second period and ending a scoreless run of almost 150 minutes by the Leafs against the Bruins.
NOTES: Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson assisted on both Toronto goals. … The Bruins, the top penalty killing team in the league, were 3-for-3, including 23 seconds of 5-on-3. … Boston placed winger Chris Bourque on waivers for the purpose of sending him to Providence. The son of former Bruins great Raymond Bourque had a goal and three assists in 18 games. … Speaking of Boston greats, Milt Schmidt was honored before the game, which came days after his 95th birthday. Schmidt, who walks with the aid a cane but remains sharp and witty as ever, dropped the ceremonial first puck, wearing an old-fashioned No. 15 jersey after a video tribute on the big board. … The Maple Leafs return home to play Pittsburgh Saturday, while the Bruins host the Flyers the same day. … Boston left wing Daniel Paille and Toronto tough guy Colton Orr both played in their 400th NHL games Thursday night.
Red Wings 3, Oilers 0: Former UMaine standout Jimmy Howard stopped 22 shots for his 13th career shutout as host Detroit improved to 5-1-1 in its last seven games.
Howard stopped six shots in the first period, seven in the second and nine in the third for his second shutout in six starts. Defenseman Jakub Kindl and Cory Emmerton scored second-period goals and Justin Abdelkader added an empty-netter for the Red Wings, who have won nine of their last 10 home games against Edmonton.
Devan Dubnyk made 25 saves for the Oilers, who were shut out for the first time this season. Edmonton fell to 1-3-2 on its season-high nine-game road trip.
Kindl got Detroit on the board at 3:16 of the second period after carrying the puck into the zone and unleashing a couple shots before his last trickled through the Oilers’ defense and between Dubnyk’s pads. Emmerton doubled the advantage just over nine minutes later by finishing a nice feed from Drew Miller with a wrist shot from the slot.
Edmonton’s power play, which was ranked eighth in the NHL, was not given a chance to operate as the Red Wings played their first penalty-free game of the season. Detroit finished 0-for-1 with the man advantage.