BOSTON – While the B's hope that Patrice Bergeron will be available to the club for their series versus the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli said this past weekend that rookie center Tyler Seguin stands a good chance to make his first postseason appearance when the Black & Gold begin Game 1 on Saturday night.
|Carolina Hurricanes goalie Justin Peters falls to the ice after deflecting a shot by Seguin (19) in the third period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Jan. 17, 2011, in Boston. The Bruins won 7-0. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) |
While Seguin hasn’t stepped onto the ice following the opening puck drop, he has been dressing for the B’s warm-ups before each of the playoff games and has gotten the chance to see how his teammates adapt to the increased intensity of the games.
That experience, coupled with Seguin's watching games from the press box has prepared the 19-year-old for his debut.
“The intensity has picked up," said Seguin. "Everyone is finishing their checks and when you are up there you do see that there is a lot more space than you think."
Seguin skated in 74 games for Boston during the regular season and split much of the campaign between the B's third and fourth lines. But in the final stretch of 2010-11 Seguin found himself watching plenty of games from the press box.
However, over the past two days of practice, Seguin skated on the right wing of the third line. Michael Ryder slid over to the left wing and Rich Peverley played the pivot man.
“He’s been a big part of this team all year," said Ryder of Seguin. "I think he’s developed well and he’s learned a lot and I think that’s definitely going to help him for his playoff time.
"It’s his first playoff experience and he’s excited to play and he’s going to be ready to go,”
Seguin feels he is ready to go, and is confident in his abilities. But his teammates are confident as well, and the 31-year-old Ryder had limited advice for Seguin.
“I’ll probably just tell him, go play, skate," explained Ryder. "When he’s skating a lot of good things happen. And he definitely has the skill and talent to play.
“I think he’s going to do well he just needs to make sure he’s relaxed out there and he’s not to tense when he plays.”
Capable of playing both center and wing, Seguin and Peverley’s ability to transition seamlessly between the two positions within a shift will be an advantage for Boston, as Tampa rolls out dynamic forwards in Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavailer.
The defensive responsibility is an aspect of Seguin’s game the B’s coaching staff has been working on with him throughout the season and Seguin is focusing on the increased responsibility as he prepares to skate in the playoffs.
“I don’t want to go in there being worried about making mistakes, I want to go out there and play a good defensive game and try to help put some results up there,” said Seguin.
Bruins Release Conference Finals schedule
With one series left to be decided in the Western Conference semifinals, the Boston Bruins have now learned when they will begin their third round series with the Lighting.
Game 1 will take place this Saturday, May 14 in TD Garden while Game 2 is set for Tuesday, May 17. The Bruins will then travel to Tampa Bay for Games 3 and 4 on Thursday, May 19 and Saturday, May 21 respectively. Game 1-3 will have 8 p.m. starts and Game 4 will be played at 1:30 p.m.
If necessary, Game 5 will be back in Boston on Tuesday, May 24, Game 6 will be played at the St. Pete Times Forum and Game 7 will be in TD Garden on Friday, May 27. Games 5-6 will all start at 8 p.m.