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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Tyler Seguin Foreva

For the way that the breakup went down and how he's thrived since then in Dallas, Tyler Seguin will always be that special ex you inevitably think about from time to time. It's doubtful given Boston's system that he would be the MVP candidate here that he's been with the Stars but then again, with that much talent you have to think that he would have figured it out at some point with the Bruins. Giving up on him after two years in the NHL was a big risk that didn't pay off for Boston. Of course, this is all a moot point since he's long gone and former GM Peter Chiarelli who pulled the trigger on that fateful deal is now in Edmonton.

Bruins fans got their yearly reminder of what they are missing as Seguin scored a hat trick (7th of his career, 6th with Dallas) as the Stars (10-3-0) beat the Bruins (6-4-1) 5-3 tonight at TD Garden. Boston's seven-game point streak (6-0-1) and four-game win streak was snapped as they continue to play hideous hockey (1-4-1) at home. They have the third worst home record in the NHL, tied with Colorado and only better than Calgary (1-5-0) and Columbus (0-5-0). Similarly, goaltender Tuukka Rask (3-4-1) continues to be a puddle here. Seguin (8 goals, 12 assists) is now tied with his linemate Jamie Benn (10 goals, 10 assists) for the NHL points lead. Backup goaltender Kari Lehtonen (4-1-0) made 36 saves as Boston outshot Dallas 39-19.

The game began on a grim note as Boston center Chris Kelly broke his femur on a fluke play (3 seconds into his first shift of the night) when his skate got stuck in the ice and his leg got twisted awkwardly. He went straight to Mass General Hospital and will have surgery tomorrow, he's expected to miss six-to-eight months which likely signals the end of his Bruins career (he's a free agent next summer). He's been bashed for years since his contract from Chiarelli was way too much money but he's been a solid player and a really good leader. His veteran presence will be missed by the B's along with all the little things that he does (kill penalties, win faceoffs, block shots, etc.).

Seguin opened the scoring at 5:46 with a sick shot through helpless Kevan Miller's legs. Jason Spezza and Jamie Benn assisted on Seguin's sixth goal of the season (also his 300th career NHL point). Bruins rookie defenseman Colin Miller recorded his own milestone with his first career NHL goal at 7:14. A blast from the point, assisted by Torey Krug and Jimmy Hayes. Boston's top-ranked power play gave them their only lead late in the first period. Loui Eriksson (part of the Seguin deal on July 4, 2013) put in a rebound at 19:35. Torey Krug and Patrice Bergeron assisted on his third goal of the season. You wish that Boston had gotten way more in that trade but at least now, we can agree that Eriksson is a dependable contributer.

Brad Marchand (the NHL's first star of the week) was stopped on a shorthanded breakaway early in the second then Dallas cashed in on a subsequent power play. Seguin scored on a one-timer from John Klingberg and Jamie Benn at 4:37, six seconds after the hooking call on Brett Connolly. The Stars took the lead at 17:18 on rookie defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka's first career NHL goal. His shot from the point through traffic beat Rask, assisted by Valeri Nichushkin and Jordie Benn.

Seguin finished the hat trick at 1:18 on another power play. Krug put the puck over the glass in his own end and 12 seconds later, his former teammate buried another one-timer from the slot. Spezza and Klingberg had the assists. The Stars put it out of reach at 9:13 with their third power play goal (most allowed by Boston since Jan. 4, 2014 vs. Anaheim). Defenseman Alex Goligoski skated in unimpeded for a backhander top-shelf on Rask. Mattias Janmark and Colton Sceviour had the helpers on his first goal of the season.

For window dressing, Eriksson added his second goal in garbage time. Ryan Spooner hit him with a pretty cross-ice feed at 17:45 that cut it to 5-3 Dallas. The Bruins pulled Rask for the extra skater and used their timeout but it didn't matter. They hadn't played since Saturday and they lost to a team that was at Toronto last night (and lost). Ugh. Things won't get any easier for the B's as they are away for three games in four nights later this week: at Washington (8-3-0) on Thursday (7, NESN), at Montreal (11-2-1) on Saturday (7, NESN) and at the Islanders (7-3-3) on Sunday (5, NESN). It's hard to imagine that Boston's spotless road record (5-0-0) will survive that gauntlet of a road trip through the Eastern Conference's iron.

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