WASHINGTON -- He was the leading scorer on the defending champions, but Tyler Seguin was also a 20-year-old kid with 13 games of NHL postseason experience when the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs began.
As this tight-checking, extremely close Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series between Seguin's Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals matriculated, the pressure on the future star to be one in the present mounted.
"There is a lot that asked of him," Boston defenseman Andrew Ference said. "He's a young guy and we all understand that he is given a lot of opportunity but he also has a lot of expectations. We have to remind ourselves how old he is and how difficult it is play, especially this time of year."
For five games, Seguin did not have a point. He had a glorious chance in Game 5, but Washington goaltender Braden Holtby made the save of the series to deny him.
And then, Seguin arrived in this series in a blur as the Capitals had no answer for his combination of speed, skill and hockey sense.
Seguin created Boston's third goal in Game 6 on Sunday at Verizon Center with an incredible individual effort, then forced a Game 7 with a goal 3:17 into overtime in a 4-3 victory.
"This series I've had a lot of chances and opportunities and I haven't been finishing them off," Seguin said. "It's just really nice to get that feeling of finding the back of the net."
Seguin's impact in this contest was felt on his first shift. He collected the puck and blew past Washington defenseman Mike Green in a rush down the middle of the ice that was very similar to the two he had that resulted in goals during the Eastern Conference Finals against Tampa Bay a year ago.
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Holtby denied Seguin's shot, and the goaltender was there again when the speedy wing dusted defenseman John Erskine later in the period.
It was Seguin's speed and anticipation that helped him finally break through in the third period. Washington's Marcus Johansson hounded David Krejci and stole the puck from him at the Boston blue line.
Seguin arrived just as Semin turned and knocked the puck off the talented Russian's stick before carrying it down the right wing on the counterattack. His shot went off Holtby's mask, and Ference eventually put in the rebound with 8:03 left in the third period.
"I think that is a big step for him, to show up in a big game after taking a little of that pressure to perform and going out there and having a good game," Ference said. "That's obviously another building block in his career and his maturity. It is very promising to see a guy take that path instead of shrinking away from the pressure."
Seguin received a pass from Lucic and Dennis Wideman became the third member of Washington's defense corps that couldn't handle the 20-year-old's speed. He waited out Holtby, who came out of his net to challenge, before depositing the puck with a confident finish.
"I thought yesterday [in Game 5] he was a pretty good player," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "He missed that great opportunity in close where the goaltender made a great save. When those things start happening, you know it's coming around. I thought he was skating extremely well tonight and he used his speed. [He] had a chance early in the game and to me it was fitting for him to get that goal."