Taylor Hall(notes) individually outperformed Tyler Seguin(notes) during the duo’s rookie season in 2010-11, but Seguin got his name on the Stanley Cup - and he’s following that up with a torrid start to his sophomore campaign.
Chosen first by Edmonton, Hall led the Oilers with 22 goals last season despite being limited to 65 games by an ankle injury.
Seguin got his NHL career off to a significantly slower start, totaling 22 points in 74 games and spending the first two playoff rounds in the press box. However, after an injury forced him into the lineup, he had seven postseason points to help the Bruins win their first Stanley Cup since 1972.
Still just 19 years old, Seguin leads Boston (6-7-0) with eight goals and 15 points this season. He has four goals and an assist during the Bruins’ three-game winning streak, helping the team bounce back from a dismal start and climb out of the Eastern Conference cellar.
Boston has awakened offensively during its run, totaling 18 goals after scoring 22 in the first 10 games.
“I think the past few games is the way we’re supposed to play, and it shows in the outcome,” center Patrice Bergeron(notes) said after he extended his point streak to seven in Monday’s 6-2 win over the New York Islanders. “When we’re feeling good, playing well, we don’t want to stop.”
Edmonton (9-3-2) is feeling great amid its outstanding start, which has the club in second place in the West following consecutive seasons with the fewest points in the NHL.
Nikolai Khabibulin(notes), coming off his worst season at age 38, has allowed nine goals in nine games, posting a 0.98 goals-against average and .963 save percentage while going 7-0-2. He won his sixth straight start Tuesday, stopping 28 shots in a 3-1 victory at Montreal.
“That’s one of the poorer performances we’ve had in front of him,” coach Tom Renney said. “We kind of stole one here, but you find ways to win and he certainly is giving us lots of confidence. We just have to make sure that we pay that back.”
If Khabibulin starts Thursday, he’ll have to overcome some bad memories in Boston. He’s 1-7-0 with two ties and a 3.27 GAA there.
After Tuukka Rask(notes) picked up his first win of 2011-12 on Monday, Boston may turn back to its own late-30s netminder. Tim Thomas(notes) recorded his first shutout of the season in his last start, a 7-0 win at Toronto on Saturday, and he’s blanked the Oilers each of the last two times he’s faced them.
Boston has won all nine meetings since a 6-1 loss Oct. 17, 2000. Neither Hall nor Seguin had any points in their only previous NHL meeting, a 3-2 Bruins win in Edmonton on Feb. 27.
It’s unclear if the Bruins will have Rich Peverley(notes), who sat out Monday with an undisclosed injury. They’ll likely be without Daniel Paille(notes), who needed surgery after he was struck in the face by a slapshot from Islanders defenseman Steve Staios(notes).