Seguin poised for second-year strides

MONTREAL -- Bruins second-year forward Tyler Seguin played his second straight game Monday night in Montreal and once again was on one of the top two lines. In Sunday's 7-3 win over the Canadiens in Halifax, Seguin -- playing with Nathan Horton and Jordan Caron -- bounced back from a so-so performance in his first preseason game at Ottawa last Wednesday with a goal and an assist. On Monday night, Seguin played well again, scoring a power-play goal and skating on the top line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci.

"I feel good. I thought I had an OK game in Ottawa and better game last night [Sunday]," Seguin said before Monday night's game. "Just want to stay consistent. I'm just trying to get better every game at the little things and I think I know from last season they want my battle and compete level high."

After the game, Seguin said he felt more comfortable on the ice but was careful not to get carried away with another impressive performance.

"I don't think a goal here or the other night is going to make me that much more confident, but it helps," Seguin said. "I think it's what I was able to build over the course of last season and the summer working out, and now hopefully into this season. I felt good at the end of the season and felt I learned so much and got stronger as a person and player. Now I am just trying to carry that over into this season and learn from everything last year."

Head coach Claude Julien said he sees that confidence building and notices it especially with Seguin's improved physical play.

"He's confident that he can go in the corners against anybody and, as we always told him, you don't need to run guys over, you just gotta battle hard and try and win that battle for the puck," Julien said. "Come out with the puck from the corner and that's all we can ask from you. I think he understands that a lot better this year and is capable of doing that as well."

Another noticeable difference between the Seguin who played his first preseason game here in Montreal as a much-hyped first-round pick heading into the 2010-11 season and the one who stepped on the ice Monday is the way the 19-year-old is able to recognize his mistakes even after a solid game. Following the win Monday, Seguin was asked about his goal and he seemed more concerned about the plays he didn't make.

"I'm glad that he's trying out different things and giving me a chance and I want to thrive with that," Seguin said. "Still a couple plays tonight where I want to make maybe better decisions and should fix. It's definitely nice to get that goal, but [I] need to improve still."

That accountability impressed his bench boss.

"He understands our game a little bit better now and the game at this level," Julien said. "There's times now where he knows where maybe there was an easier play or 'Maybe I should've moved the puck quicker.' He's a guy that likes to hang onto the puck, and sometimes that's a good thing and other times you gotta move it a little quicker."

Seguin said he's doing his best to improve on that every day.

"I think I did that a lot more in juniors, and last year I was too nervous to figure it out," Seguin said. "Now I feel like I am more confident and trying to figure out what the exact space is, know what I have out there in a game situation. You just don't want to create any more bad habits."

James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com. Ask a question for his next Bruins mailbag here.