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Second Round

Seguin enjoying 'roller coaster of a playoff' with Stars

Center discusses postseason run, season full of adversity ahead of Game 5 vs. Blues

by Mike Zeisberger @Zeisberger / NHL.com Staff Writer

DALLAS - Tyler Seguin doesn't want to look back. Only ahead.

The Dallas Stars center admits the 2018-19 season has been a topsy-turvy ride of highs and lows that has left him emotionally drained at times. But he's on the upswing now and plans to keep that trend going in the Western Conference Second Round against the St. Louis Blues.

"It's been a long year," Seguin said. "It's been a roller coaster of a year. A roller coaster of a playoff. I've obviously been trying to keep it even keel all year. A lot of stuff has happened -- for the whole team, for me personally.

 

[RELATED: Complete Blues vs. Stars series coverage]

 

"But the important thing is what's going on now, and I'm happy where we're at. So let's keep it going."

Seguin had two assists in the Stars' 4-2 victory against the Blues in Game 4, a win that evened the best-of-7 series 2-2 heading into Game 5 in St. Louis on Friday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, SN360, TVAS).

"To think about where I've come from, where we've come from this season, it's encouraging," he said. "But we can't stop now."

Video: STL@DAL, Gm3: Seguin buries Heiskanen's great feed

Seguin was eager for the start of the season after signing an eight-year, $78.8 million contract extension with the Stars on Sept. 13. He was enthused that the deal gave him a chance to remain in Dallas through the 2026-27 season.

He and the Stars struggled in the first few months of the season. On Dec. 28, Dallas was 19-16-3, fourth place in the Central Division and eighth place in the West. Seguin had 32 points (11 goals, 21 assists) and teammate Jamie Benn had 30 (15 goals, 15 assists). 

That's when Jim Lites, president of the Stars, went public, saying Dallas was "getting terrible play" from Seguin and Benn.

"I just think that's another example of the adversity I was talking about in a way," the 27-year-old forward said. "Obviously neither one of us appreciated it. We've kind of left it in the past. Knew things would kind of start going. Things started going in and look where we are now." 

Seguin responded by finishing the season with 80 points (33 goals, 47 assists) and has nine points (three goals, six assists) in 10 playoff games. More importantly, the Stars are two wins from reaching the Western Conference Final for the first time since Seguin was acquired in a trade from the Boston Bruins in 2013. Their last appearance in the third round was in 2008, a loss to the Detroit Red Wings 

Ahead of Game 5, Seguin discussed a wide range of topics with NHL.com, including how much he has matured on and off the ice, his contract, and how optimistic he is that the Stars can continue their run in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

 

Is it easier to embrace the grind of the Stanley Cup Playoffs given that the Stars have missed the postseason three of your six seasons here?

"You embrace it. You embrace how special it is. You embrace how hard it is. How fun it is. I'll talk to friends and family and they'll say: 'You look tired, it's such a grind.' And I'll tell them that this is the one thing I'll miss the most -- the grind and the locker room. It's so rewarding and fulfilling to win a playoff game, a playoff series and obviously going all the way. That's why you enjoy when times are tough. Because it makes winning so much sweeter."

 

Coach Jim Montgomery took you off the top line with Benn and Alexander Radulov for Game 4 and you responded with a pair of assists playing with Matt Zuccarello and Jason Dickinson. How key was that to the victory?

"I think Game 4 you saw the reward of it. Every line chipped in. We got goals from all over. We're used to mixing lines. Sometimes he can mix lines and not say anything to us, and that's sending a message to us as well. I thought we responded great."

Video: Ben Bishop shines in a physical game Game 3 win

 

What do the Stars need to do to have success now that the series against the Blues is tied after four games?

"We came back from 2-1 deficit to win the final three games in the first round against Nashville, so we know just to keep going. Obviously, this is a team (Blues) that is a lot like ours when it looks in the mirror. They've been through a lot of adversity. They were in last place in January, and they've responded well. We've seen how they came in on the road in Game 3 and really gave it to us. And now they've seen us do it in Game 4. Probably both surprised each other. And now it's going to be a heck of a finish here."

 

You won a Stanley Cup as a rookie with the Bruins in 2011 and made the Final in 2013. As a young player, did you really appreciate those moments at the time, given that the Stars have won two playoff series since you've been here?

"You appreciate it. But to be honest, you just don't know. I didn't know back then. I know now obviously. But I've said it many times: you don't know the complete worth of it until you go through the trenches of it. In other words, missing playoffs. I'm a firm believer that sometimes you have to lose a lot to understand how great it is to win and the adversity it takes to win. I think our team has seen the benefits of it. Three coaches in three years (Montgomery, Ken Hitchcock, Lindy Ruff). Different systems. Different things that have happened along the way. We're a team that responds. We believe. We trust. We're playing against a team in St.Louis that believes and trusts as well so that makes for a great series."

 

Do you consider yourself a team leader now? If so, what did you learn from leaders like Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara in Boston?

"Honestly, I remember more now than I did at that time. Things come back to me. Things that I saw as a young guy that I didn't fully understand that I get now. There are things that you went through and saw along the way that come back to you, especially in times like this. We've had a lot of summers where I'm sitting on my couch in April or done two trips through Mexico by now. But today, we're playing hockey in Texas in May. There's no better feeling than that, and I'd like it to continue."

 

Was there ever a time you thought Dallas might not be your long-term hockey home?

"You understand that this is a business. I didn't understand that until I got traded. You still kind of need that wake-up call -- OK, maybe not a wake-up call -- but you understand that, man, this is a business. And when you are doing contract negotiations, you feel that and understand that. I understood that I might have to go play somewhere else. I wouldn't like to, but this is a business. Obviously, I was ecstatic when we figured something out. And obviously I didn't want to handcuff my team as well. It all worked out."

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