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Matt Bradley cuts into Bruins lead 12.18.10 at 8:37 pm ET
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The Bruins slowed down a bit in the second period, while Matt Bradley potted his third goal of the season. After two, the Bruins lead the Capitals, 3-1.

Tyler Seguin had perhaps the best scoring opportunity for the Bruins when he waited too long on a breakaway and had no room to stove it in glove-side on Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth.

After being outshot, 9-5, in the first period, the Capitals had the shots-on-goal advantage in the second, 10-8. Through two, the B’s have 19 shots the Washingon’s 15.

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Tyler Seguin still working to ‘figure this league out’ at 1:22 pm ET
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Tyler Seguin knows that he’s been able to produce in the face of adversity. He’s done it since he’s been on the radar of hockey fans, but it might be a bit different at this level. That’s why he doesn’t want himself — or anyone else — to assume he’ll embark on a career-defining hot streak after being a healthy scratch earlier this week. Observe the following exchange.

It hasn't been the easiest adjustment to the NHL for Tyler Seguin. (AP)

WEEI.com: Obviously in juniors after that coaching change, and then when you didn’t make the World Juniors team last year, these things have seemed to spark a –

Seguin: Don’t. Don’t jinx it. Don’t keep going.

[A bit of background information: Seguin, who was taken ninth overall by the Plymouth Whalers in the OHL draft in 2008, wasn't producing like a top-10 pick out of the gate. He had just one goal in his first 17 games, and after coach Greg Stefan left to take a scouting gig with the Carolina Hurricanes, Seguin finished the season with 21 goals despite his slow start. This came after Mike Vellucci, who took over as coach, sat the then-16-year-old down and told him he expected him to produce regardless of age.

Last season, Seguin, the ninth-ranked prospect in the NHL draft, didn't make the World Junior Championship team and used it as motivation as he went on to lead the OHL with 48 goals and take over as the top-ranked prospect.]

Fast forward to mid-December.

Whether he liked it or not, Seguin was forced to take in Wednesday’s game against the Sabres from the press box, observing the pace of a game he’s still learning at a professional level. He sat alongside Doug Jarvis as the Bruins fell to the Sabres, 3-2.

“I got to sit up top and look at it from a different perspective, and that’s how the coach and GM wanted me to spend the game,” Seguin, seemingly understanding of the decision, said.

The 18-year-old followed the scratch with an encouraging showing in Montreal, making a nice play to get the puck to Andrew Ference to set up Marc Savard‘s first goal of the season. Seguin has just three points in his last 10 games, so he’ll look to build on whatever forward steps he can take after being kept out of the lineup.

“I always try to turn a negative into a positive,” Seguin said. “All it is is adversity. You’ll face it a million times in your hockey career, so it was just another experience of it. I wanted to come out with a strong game in Montreal, and I think I did that. I just want to stay consistent.”

As the second overall pick still gets his bearings and finds different ways to adjust to the NHL, top pick Taylor Hall has seemed to hit his stride, scoring 10 goals thus far. Still, Seguin knows that how a player performs in the early going of his rookie year does not exactly set the pace for one’s career production.

One of the players to whom he most often compared in Steven Stamkos (flip a coin on the frequency of comparisons of Seguin to Stamkos or Steve Yzerman) was also a healthy scratch at times as a rookie. Seguin, who has five goals thus far, kiddingly noted that Stamkos had four before Christmas prior to lighting it up with 20 goals after the holiday. In fact, Stamkos — the same guy who has 24 goals this season — only had three before Dec. 25. Regardless of the solace he may take in knowing he isn’t the first to deal with such adjustment to the NHL, Seguin isn’t trying to follow anyone’s path or try to be somebody he’s not.

“I just want to be Tyler right now,” Seguin said. “I want to find my own identity and figure this league out.”

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Post-morning skate odds and ends at 12:07 pm ET
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Tim Thomas was first off the ice for the Bruins following their morning skate, an indication that he’ll be in net when the B’s face the Capitals tonight. In three starts against the Capitals this season, Thomas is 2-0-0 with five goals allowed and a shutout. He was pulled from the team’s 5-3 loss on Nov. 5 after allowing three goals through two periods.

The Capitals aren’t exactly jonesing to face the early Vezina favorite in Thomas. Coach Bruce Boudreau said Saturday that “you just have to play really perfect hockey to beat [the Bruins] and then you have to play more perfect hockey to beat Thomas.

- If you’re surprised by how many minutes Steven Kampfer has been getting, you’re not along. Asked if he expected to play as much as he has, Kampfer honestly replied, “Uh, no. I definitely didn’t think I’d be getting that many, but I’m just trying to play well, trying to play simple and help the team get a couple of wins here.”

Kampfer said patience has been the biggest thing he’s picked up at the NHL level, which is quite interesting and a good explanation as to why he’s handled the callup and the minutes so well. Young players often try to counter the quick pace of the NHL game by hurrying things more than they need to, but it hasn’t seemed to be the case with Kampfer — at least not much.

- Claude Julien knows the Capitals have been winless over their last seven, but he’s worried about his own guys, who have gone three without a W. Julien addressed the slump by saying “we’ve got to show some determination and resilience.”

- The Capitals have been followed by HBO cameras for the NHL 24/7 show that’s sweeping the nation. Have to admit I haven’t been able to see it (or this season of Eastbound and Down) due to my lack of owning HBO, but the hockey world has been going nuts over this show. One of the draws of the show is the prolific use of a four-letter word beginning in “F” by Boudreau.

“That goes on in every dressing room, in every team, in every sport at this level,” Boudreau said, noting that the team is so comfortable with having the camera around that it has become “second nature.”

Boudreau is by no means taking pride in the language aspect of it, but he said such talk “just comes out of your mouth when you’re mad,” adding, “my mom talked to me about it, so I’ll be OK.”

- Stay tuned for what came of an interesting chat with Tyler Seguin about Christmas, being a healthy scratch, and once again having something in common with Steven Stamkos. More to come later.

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Tyler Seguin back in the lineup for the Bruins 12.16.10 at 7:08 pm ET
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Dry your tears, Bruins fans, Tyler Seguin is back in the lineup as the B’s take on the Canadiens in Montreal on Thursday night. The second overall pick missed the last two games with flu-like symptoms and as a healthy scratch, respectively. They were the first two games he’s missed this season.

With Seguin in, Daniel Paille is back to being a healthy scratch. Seguin has five goals and five assists in 27 games this season.

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Tyler Seguin scratched vs. Sabres 12.15.10 at 6:53 pm ET
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The Bruins have indeed scratched rookie forward Tyler Seguin vs. the Sabres on Wednesday. It makes for Seguin’s first healthy scratch of his career after missing Saturday’s game with flu-like symptoms.

In Seguin’s place will be Daniel Paille, who was solid on Saturday despite having a minus-1 rating on the night.

Seguin has 10 points — five goals and five assists — this season, though he’s scored just two goals in his last 19 games.

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Tyler Seguin to sit vs. Sabres? at 3:49 pm ET
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Will the Bruins skate Daniel Paille or Tyler Seguin on Wednesday? (AP)

Claude Julien told reporters Wednesday morning that whether or not Tyler Seguin plays against the Sabres will be a game-time decision. Seguin sat out Saturday night with what the team called flu-like symptoms (he skated with the scratches that morning) and Daniel Paille, despite posting a minus-1 on the night, was solid, single-handedly saving a goal with Tim Thomas out of position following a rebound.

Yet Paille, for the most part, has been dreadful when he has played this season. His performance in the season-opener against the Coyotes made the decision to put Jordan Caron in the lineup a no-brainer. Still, he’s only played since then due to injury, so the opportunities to prove himself this season have been limited (10 games this season).

As for Seguin, people will have two questions should he be a healthy scratch for the first time in his career. No. 1, will it stunt his development, and No. 2, will he pout?

To answer the first one, missing one game (well, two if you count Saturday) won’t make his ceiling any lower, and he likely knows that. It might actually be good for him in the long-run. Seguin’s clearly been explosive through the neutral zone and is a huge asset in shootouts, but sitting might add some motivation for the rest of his game.

The time off can also let Seguin take a step back and reset, so to speak. He hasn’t been slow out there, but he certainly hasn’t been as in sync with Marc Savard as many would have expected, and a game or two off might help him clear his head.

Regarding whether he’ll be an unhappy camper, who knows? What we do know is that he’ll try not to show it. The 18-year-old didn’t answer a single question in training camp or the preseason without attaching “if I make the team” to it. He’s been very careful to not come across as a kid who’s taking things for granted, so one could expect a stock “whatever’s best for the team” answer when he’s asked about all this.

Seguin has four points in his last 15 games and has 10 points (five goals, five assists) on the season. He’s scored just two goals over his last 19 games. The second overall pick in last June’s draft, Seguin is viewed as one of the more talented young goal-scorers in the league and has been compared to the likes of Steven Stamkos. He’s clearly not anywhere near Stamkos’ level, but time will tell whether he becomes the elite right-handed center many project him to be.

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Bruins use Monday to knock off Christmas shopping 12.14.10 at 9:38 am ET
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WOBURN — Christmas shopping is crazy enough, but it’s a little crazier when professional athletes are doing the same, easily identifiable by their jerseys and Santa Clause hats.

That was the scene at Woburn’s Target store on Monday as the B’s did their annual Holiday Toy Shopping to pick up presents for local hospitalized children.

“It’s always nice, especially when you know it’s going to kids that won’t have a chance to be home for Christmas,” captain Zdeno Chara said. “At least this way, we want t make it really easy and comfortable for them. Hopefully they’re going to enjoy it.”

This was no case of grabbing the first things you can find and calling it a day. Players were given checklists, shopping carts and Target employees as they went through the store. Nathan Horton, a father who admittedly is learned on the popular gifts, had no trouble filling shopping carts with toys and even iPods.

It wasn’t long ago that 18-year-old Tyler Seguin was getting giddy over Christmas presents. The youngest player on the team, Seguin said he enjoyed Power Rangers toys as a child. As he picked presents on Tuesday, he was careful and deliberate in taking a good look at each gift before tossing it in the cart.

“This is a lot of fun,” Seguin said as he inspected the toys. “Any time you get to give back to the community and fans, it’s always a nice feeling. I get to tell my family all the good stuff and good causes we’re supporting.”

The B’s have been picking up presents for hospitalized children since the days of Ray Bourque. After Bourque was sent Colorado, Concord-born Hal Gill took over the operation, with P.J. Axelsson succeeding Gill. Patrice Bergeron, the longest-tenured current Bruins player, runs the show now.

“I liked doing it when Hal was here, and then P.J. took care of it,” Bergeron said Monday. “Once they left, I told [Director of Community Relations] Kerry [Collins] I wanted to take over because it’s something that I like and I think it’s something that the kids enjoy. It’s something that’s very important for the community.”

The next step of the process is actually delivering the gifts, which players noted is the best part.

“Today, it’s fun. You’re throwing a bunch of toys and stuff in the cart, but the big thing is when we drop them off at the hospitals,” Mark Stuart said. “It’s good to actually meet the kids and actually know where it’s going. That’s important with any charity.”

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