BOSTON – Claude Julien called for more production out of Bruins forward Tyler Seguin headed into Game 2 of Boston’s second round playoff series against the New York Rangers, and the 21-year-old is certainly trying his best to oblige.
Only Henrik Zetterberg and Zdeno Chara have more shots on net than Seguin has posted (33) in eight playoff games this spring, and nobody can accuse the young forward of giving less than his top effort.
Sometimes that’s still not good enough as evidenced by the botched clear attempt at the end of the second period in the defensive zone that led to Ryan McDonagh scoring a big goal at the end of the second period in Thursday night’s Game 1 win.
Luckily for Seguin and the Bruins, the rest of his teammates were able to pick him up in the third period and overtime. The Bruins forward was keenly aware of how important those one-on-one battles are in the closing seconds of periods, and he wants to remain somebody that Claude Julien will trust in those big situations.
“I think I’m somebody that Claude has always chosen for those moments at the end of periods, and I want to keep that going,” said Seguin. “That play where I wasn’t able to clear the puck is something I would definitely like to have back, but it’s too late now. So I just have to go out and make the play the next time I’m out there.”
But perhaps just as important as anything else is Seguin regaining his "swagger" on the ice, and slowing things down at points when he’s in favorable situations to create some offense.
That means changing gears and picking his spots to turn on the skating jets rather than simply operating at top speed all the time. Not only will a little more patience and confidence probably lead to more scoring chances for No. 19, but it will also create more offensive plays for the other guys that he’s playing alongside.
Then Seguin can use his optimal skating speed for separation from unsuspecting defenders when he's lulled them into his trap.
“It’s about getting the swagger back, and the confidence that the puck is going into the net if I keep at it,” said Seguin. “My manager is in town, and one of the first things he said to me was that I need to slow things down [on the ice]. When I do that I can see the plays setting up in front of me, and it can more effective for not only me, but also for the guys I’m skating with.
“There’s also definitely a matter of getting a bounce or two. The shot from the third period in Game 1 is probably against anybody other than the Rangers, but [Dan] Girardi was there to block the shot.”
Seguin talking about regained swagger is good news for third line teammates Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley, who have a combined one goal in 15 playoff games this spring. That’s also one more playoff goal scored than Seguin has in the last couple of weeks.