Skip to main content

Bruins need more from Seguin to get past Penguins

by Matt Kalman

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Boston Bruins forward Tyler Seguin seems to have lost his scoring touch.

Two years ago as a rookie, he made his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut in the Eastern Conference Finals and lit up the Tampa Bay Lightning for three goals and six points in the first two games.

Could the right wing's latest venture into the third round of the postseason bring a similar spark?

"Yeah, it'd be nice," Seguin said after the Bruins practiced Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena. "I'm working hard and I've taken advantage of the rest we've gotten so far. And we're having a few good days of practice here. And I feel we'll be ready to go."

The Bruins open this season's conference finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS), and Seguin has scored one goal in 12 games. Though it went down as a full-strength goal, he found the back of the net seconds after a power play expired.

So there's no doubt Seguin, who scored 16 goals in the regular season, has more to give the Bruins at 5-on-5 than what's shown up on the score sheet through two rounds. In the meantime, he has had to do some adjusting.

During the first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, with the line of Seguin, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand struggling to find the production it provided in the regular season, coach Claude Julien started experimenting, with Seguin playing on a line with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley. During the second-round series against the New York Rangers, Seguin's place on Kelly's line became more permanent while Jaromir Jagr skated with Bergeron.

Skating alongside Seguin, Peverley has scored one goal this postseason, and Kelly is without a point in 12 games. But Seguin said his line can break out by staying positive and not focusing so much on scoring, instead worrying about other facets of the game.

"I think we help each other. And I think sometimes when things aren't going well or you're kind of not scoring, you kind of just say, ‘Let's not get scored on. Let's be great in our D zone,'" Seguin said. "I think, especially when I was playing with [Bergeron's] line, when we were good in our D zone, good things would happen. So I think if we can focus on that, me, [Kelly] and [Peverley], we're going to be good."

Despite the lack of results, Julien said he has been encouraged by Seguin's play since late in the five-game series against the Rangers.

"I think Tyler's been fine. If anything, he's competed a lot harder and he's battling, he's in there," Julien said. "I think on the power play he's made some good plays and he's done a good job. I think to me that line, in the last two games, [was] better. And they're starting to get to know each other a little bit better and finding each other on the ice a little bit easier.

"And today in practice, same thing. I saw the same things. So we know that that line is going to be an important line for us in the next round, but right now I see that line improving."

Tyler Seguin
Center - BOS
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 3 | PTS: 4
SOG: 45 | +/-: -2
Kelly also said he sees some promise from his trio.

"I thought we played extremely well in Game 5. We had some opportunities to score, and for whatever reason they're not happening right now," the center said. "I thought Tyler played extremely well in Game 4. He was moving his feet, creating a lot of chances. He wound up scoring in that game and I think they'll come in bunches. The line's been skating well, we've been playing well, and that's all we can really do right now."

After taking the 2011 postseason by storm, Seguin cooled off and had one assist during the rest of Boston's run to the Stanley Cup championship. He came back as an NHL sophomore and scored 30 goals. In 2013, his 16 goals in 48 games put him on pace to match or surpass that total over a full season.

This postseason, the focus he gets from defenders on his current line as opposed to when he plays with Bergeron and Marchand could be slowing him down. There's also the matchup he has to face against other teams' third and fourth lines, including the Penguins' group of Matt Cooke, Brandon Sutter and Tyler Kennedy he'll probably see a lot of in the upcoming series.

"It's an adjustment. Obviously, I'm used to playing with [Bergeron] and [Marchand] the last two years. It's definitely an adjustment," Seguin said. "But there's nothing negative about it and sometimes there can be some things positive. I still want to be good in my D zone and play my same way and create offensive chances."

The Bruins have made it this far without Seguin turning those chances into goals. A few more goals from him could go a long way toward getting the Bruins even deeper into these playoffs.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.