Seguin ready to square off with hometown Leafs

Seguin ready to square off with hometown Leafs
April 29, 2013, 9:30 am
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BOSTON -- Tyler Seguin was a 12-year-old Toronto Maple Leafs fan the last time the Original Six franchise qualified for the postseason, so he knows exactly just how crazy it’s going to be in Toronto over the next couple weeks.

“I already looked at my phone and had more text messages than usual,” he said following Boston’s 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night that locked the Bruins into a first round playoff series with the Leafs. “Definitely the town is going to be excited, but I think we will be as well.

“Any time you’re in the playoffs, the atmosphere is pretty great. I’m sure Toronto is going to be good as well. I guess I’ll turn my phone off for the playoffs. I’m sure there are going to be a lot of storylines, so I’m definitely excited to get started.”

The 21-year-old forward will be expected to be one of the vital pieces for the Black and Gold after finishing with 16 goals and 32 points while playing all 48 regular season games for Boston. He’s teamed with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron to give the Bruins their most consistent forward line in a shortened season that’s been anything but consistent and will be looking forward to starting from scratch in the postseason.

“I think we’re starting fresh, [so there’s] definitely a sigh of relief, I guess,” said Seguin. “I think we’re going to move on [from the regular season] and start getting ready. It’s been a very up-and-down season for me, and I think for us a unit.

“Everybody here is excited it’s a fresh, new start. We know we’re playing a good game right now. Right now it’s just about scoring more goals. I think the last few games if we had one more here and there — and even in the first and second period, not just last minute — we’d be good.”

Seguin had an overtime game-winner in last year’s first round series against the Washington Capitals, but finished as one of the high-profile forwards held down by the Caps with only two goals and three points in the seven games.

That will need to change against a Leafs team that Seguin has owned throughout his career. He has 10 goals and 16 points in 16 games against a Toronto team that hasn’t really been known for its defense or goaltending over the last few years. This season they finished 17th in the NHL while allowing 2.7 goals per game and made some slight improvements.

But the playoffs tend to magnify teams' weaknesses when the pressure and high intensity is upon them. So a Leafs defensemen corps led by Dion Phaneuf and a very average goaltending tandem of James Reimer and Ben Scrivens might be exactly what Seguin and Co. need to get them going offensively. On the flip side, the Bruins offensive players could go into a deep freeze as they did against Washington and be in for a really short ride after limping to a 2-7-2 finish over the final nine games of the regular season.

One thing Seguin could leave alone during the playoffs?

There were sure to be plenty of media coverage of the series with the Canadian national hockey media and the entire Toronto hockey media corps looking to revisit the Seguin/Dougie Hamilton/Phil Kessel trade one more time. It might even result in a few more “Thank You, Kessel” chants from the TD Garden crowd, but don’t expect Seguin to be getting wrapped up in it.

“I won’t be listening, so I don’t know,” said Seguin. “Just my mom will.”

If so then it will be a busy week for Jackie Seguin as she checks over everything being written about her little boy while he looks to go out and continue a career domination of the team he adored while growing up in nearby Brampton, Ontario. The Bruins could certainly use their talented forward to explode onto the Stanley Cup scene.