BOSTON -- After opening the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs with four points in his first 16 games, Boston Bruins forward Tyler Seguin is getting hot at the perfect time. Entering Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS) at TD Garden with his Bruins leading the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1, Seguin is riding a three-game point streak, his longest such run in two months.
The 21-year-old also has set up Boston's two game-winning goals in that time, both of which were scored by Daniel Paille, the latest addition to a recently-formed line featuring Seguin and center Chris Kelly. By his own admission, Seguin is playing his best hockey of the postseason.
"It feels good. I feel like I'm working hard," Seguin said. "I feel like I just wanted to work a lot smarter in this series. Focus on little things. I think that my line has definitely raised their game in this series."
Seguin's improved play has been sparked in part by teaming with Paille, whose speed has complimented Seguin's game nicely. But it was a recent meeting with Bruins coach Claude Julien that helped Seguin understand exactly what the team needed from him. A meeting that a nervous Seguin initiated.
"It wasn't easy. I contemplated a couple of times on a couple of days," Seguin said of approaching his coach. "I just wanted to take my game to a whole new level. It's the Stanley Cup Final. It's all about results. I think I just wanted to hear that perspective on how my game was. Obviously, athletes take it hard on themselves every day."
Julien never has been known as a standoffish coach, and he was pleased to see one of his youngest players approach him. If anything, it may have been refreshing to know that the second pick in the 2010 NHL Draft still was looking for ways to improve his game.
"That's a relationship I think coaches always have to have with players, more today than ever," Julien said. "There was a time back when I played that you didn't really ever bother the coach. Today it's a different concept. Players want to know, they need guidance. They know that door has always been open for conversation. It doesn't mean they will hear what they want to hear, but they'll hear the truth."
Whatever the truth may have been in Seguin's case, it's helped resuscitate his game. Suddenly the first 10 games of the postseason, in which Seguin had one assist, felt like a long time ago. Two wins away from hoisting the Stanley Cup for the second time in three seasons, the Bruins are reaping the benefits, even if Seguin has one goal this postseason.
"He's played well," Julien said. "Maybe he hasn't got that goal, but he's got some assists, made some great plays on other ones that they haven't scored. He's forechecked, done well in the battles as far as trying to come up with the puck, all the things we ask him to do. We're not expecting him to be a real physical player because we don't try to make a player what he's not."
No one is going to mistake Seguin for some of his larger, more intimidating teammates. But a humbling playoff run that forced him to refine his game and seek guidance from his coach suddenly has turned into a championship hot streak.
"The general message was clear. They want production from me," Seguin said. "It's all about doing the little things. I just wanted to talk to somebody to see how else I could contribute more than I am. Obviously it's frustrating not scoring goals, but I want to create chances and hopefully the bounces will come. As we've seen this series, we're working hard out there."