Bruins get big lift from youngsters Seguin, Caron

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Bruins get big lift from youngsters Seguin, Caron

TORONTO Quite often lately, the Bruins have appeared mentally and physically weary.

So its only appropriate that youth led the way on a night when the Bs needed some kind of spark.

The two youngest position players on the Boston roster accounted for four of the teams five goals in Tuesday night's 5-4 win over the Maple Leafs, and submitted the kind of powerfully energetic effort thats highly contagious once it gets going.

In this locker room, Jordan Caron and I definitely dont have the excuse of not having our legs, said Tyler Seguin. We know that were the young guys and we need to bring the energy every single night. Were at the end of the year and I think its about our entire team being consistent . . . everybody bringing it every night.

We want to get our identity going into the playoffs that were a consistent hockey team. We are able to do that tonight.

Coming off his best game in the NHL against the Rangers on Sunday, Caron had a hand in three goals for Bs while enjoying the first two-goal game of his career. It was a performance that was badly needed with injuries decimating the winger depth in the Bs organization.

When the puck goes in once it kind of gives you that confidence boost and it pushes you to keep it going, said Caron, who now has six goals on the season. You realize you have more time with the puck, and you slow down waiting for the play to develop. The more you play on a regular shift is pretty big. It can really help you get your legs going.

Seguin finished with a pair of goals scored and now has nine points, six goals and a plus-6 in five utterly destructive gamesagainst the Maple Leafsthis season.

Seguins domination of the Leafs continues to make the Phil Kessel deal appear more one-sided than it probably deserves to be.

Caron and Seguin combined for four goals, five points, a plus-4 and eight shots on net against Toronto while so many of their fellow forwards look like hospital extras on Greys Anatomy.Nathan Horton, Rich Peverley and Daniel Paille were already down entering Tuesday nights game, and the Bruins lost Benoit Pouliot to a lower-body injury just a couple of shifts into the second period against Toronto.

It may be a challenge moving forward for the rest of the season amid the injuries, but these are the kinds of things that build character, said coach Claude Julien. Im hoping that we can take advantage of this situation.

So Caron rose to the occasion and got things going for the Bruins after they were already down 1-0 three minutes into the game. Joe Corvo fired a point blast that ricocheted off a skate in front of the net before taking a wild bounce off the end boards. Pouliot quickly flipped the bouncing puck toward the net and Caron shoveled it past a spread-out Jonas Gustavsson to even things up.

The Maple Leafs stormed back to take the lead less than a minute into the second period when a Tim Thomas rebound turned into a John-Michael Liles power play score to again hand Toronto the lead.

But this time the two roommates sharing a Charlestown condo performed a 1-2 Bunker Hill combination on the Leafs.

Seguin tipped home a Zdeno Chara shot from the slot after the 6-foot-9 defenseman dangled the puck around a disinterested Kessel, and 41 seconds later Caron created a textbook scoring play for linemate Chris Kelly.

Caron carried Luke Schenn on his back as he charged to the net with the puck and created a healthy level of chaos when Gustavsson managed to stop his scoring rush. Kelly jumped the net and jammed the loose puck away for his career-high 16th goal of the season.

Thats the exact kind of play the Bruins are preaching for Caron to create with his 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame.

We need a lot of guys to step up right now. It goes to show that sometimes you just need patience with younger players, said Julien. Once Caron gets going you give him more ice and encourage him to keep playing that way. Hes been around and in and out of the lineup for the last couple of years. But hes starting to get that confidence and were seeing the things that we saw him do in junior hockey.

Hes a power forward that can take pucks to the net and finds those loose pucks around the net area. Hes been showcasing that, hes been finishing his checks and hes a big, strong kid. What we expected of him is what were seeing out of him right now.

The Leafs managed to tie it one more time when Thomas couldnt handle Kessels spinning shot on the power play: Kessels first goal against the Bruins this season in five games.

But Caron and Seguin pounced once more in the second period.

Chara created the play when he carried the puck deep into the Toronto zone and found Caron criminally open on the backdoor for an easy tap-in. Less than three minutes later Milan Lucic wheeled the puck behind the net and found a wide open Seguin for the one-timer on the edge of the right face-off circle.

Seguin hammered it for his team-best 24th goal of the season and his sixth score against the Maple Leafs in his breakout sophomore campaign. The 20-year-old added a little salt to the wounds afterward when he expressed happiness that he didnt drop another hat trick on the Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.

Im kinda happy I didnt get that third goal because then theyd say that I can only get a hat trick in Toronto, said a smiling Seguin.

Thats a wonderful humble-brag and parting jab at the Leafs in Bostons final game of the year at the Air Canada Centre on a night when the Bs youth movement was coming up large -- and running wild.

OFFSEASON

Report: Celtics to make qualifying offers to Sullinger, Zeller

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Report: Celtics to make qualifying offers to Sullinger, Zeller

The Celtics will make qualifying offers to Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller by the Friday deadline, the Boston Herald reports.

With offers of $4.4 million to Sullinger and $3.7 million to Zeller, the two will become restricted free agents, meaning the Celtics have can match any offer sheet they sign. The two would have become unrestricted free agents without the qualifying offers.

Sullinger could take the offer to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, but the Herald reported Zeller would likely be looking elsewhere to find a bigger role after his playing time decreased last season.

Sullinger started 73 games and averaged 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in the regular season. He averaged 5.2 points and 4.5 rebounds in 13.5 minutes in the first-round playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks and lost his starting job two games into that series. 

Zeller averaged 6.1 points and 3.0 rebounds last season. He played in three of the six games in the Atlanta series. 

OFFSEASON

Celtics' ace in the hole in pursuit of Durant: Brad Stevens

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Celtics' ace in the hole in pursuit of Durant: Brad Stevens

Kevin Durant is hanging out in the Hamptons waiting to be wooed by six NBA teams, including your Boston Celtics.

(Wait, this just in: A seventh party has entered the sweepstakes. Kelly Ripa, a fellow Hamptonite has requested to pitch KD on becoming her co-host. “It’s LIVE with Kelly and KD!” It flows.)

Today Durant meets with his current team the Oklahoma City Thunder. What the hell is anyone going to say in this meeting? “Hey, KD. Anything new since we saw you a month ago, when you couldn’t make a shot in the clutch against the Warriors?”

Seriously, what can OKC tell the guy about their team that he doesn’t already know? He could have just stopped by the GM’s office on his way to the Hamptons. But, in this day and age of the power player, all must bow to him. Ah, what the hell. I would probably do the same thing.

I have a gut feeling about OKC and Durant. He wants out. If not this year -- because it looks like he's going back to the Thunder for one more season -- than the next. Is it the small town? Is it that Russell Westbrook could bolt next season to the Lakers? Is it coach Billy Donovan?

Ahhh ha! That’s what I’m going with.

I've always read that Durant loves the fans in OKC. He has never seen like a “big city” guy to me, or someone who has to live in South Beach or Manhattan. Kevin Durant has always seemed to be about basketball and that’s why I think he has man love for Brad Stevens.

I have this moment during the playoffs when OKC was playing the Warriors engrained in my brain. Durant commits a stupid mistake out of frustration that results in a turnover and a Warriors hoop. On the sideline, Billy Donovan chews his ear off for what seemed forever.

That was a mistake. Billy the Kid needed to realize he wasn't in Gainesville anymore. Remember, Billy is chip off the old Rick Pitino coaching block. Both love to talk and love to coach.

That can work against you in the NBA.

Brad Stevens, who is a better coach than Donovan, would never do that. Heck, Brad rarely shows up a rookie on the sideline. He's smart enough to know if a veteran like Durant errs because he's mad, nothing needs to be said. Players like Durant, LeBron or Steph know when they screw up.

I can see Durant talking basketball with Brad for hours, I mean, leave the room at lunch and come back after dinner and you'd find the two still jawing about everything from calling plays after time outs to Texas’s prospects next year.

I know Danny Ainge sat next to Durant’s mother during the tournament and was fined for it. Still, it was a very nice touch and it certainly made an impression on KD.

But the real reason, in my opinion, that he's thinking about Boston is Stevens.

Now if the Celtics can sell on him on playing with Jaylen Brown, they have a real shot.

Good luck with that.