Seguin: Second line will 'have to step up a bit'

Seguin: Second line will 'have to step up a bit'
May 8, 2013, 4:30 pm
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Tyler Seguin amassed 15 shots in the Bruins first two games of the series, but only had 2 in Game 3.

(USA Today Sports)

TORONTO – Tyler Seguin knows that Game 3 in Toronto against the Maple Leafs wasn’t quite as impressive as his first two playoff games in Boston.

Seguin amassed 15 shots on net in those two games and led the Bruins with four registered hits in Boston’s Game 2 loss while also helping set up a Johnny Boychuk goal by battling with Tyler Bozak in front of the Toronto net. That’s something No. 19 wanted to add to his game during this season’s playoffs when he felt it was lacking in the first round against the Washington Capitals last spring.

“Last year when the playoffs started I felt like maybe I wasn’t as involved as I would have liked to be, and the second time around I wanted to step up my game in all areas that I could,” said Seguin. “I think it starts with going out of your comfort zone, and that’s something we’ve really spread across our locker room. Whether it’s finishing checks or trying to block shots, it’s about doing things that maybe I don’t do consistently during the regular season and getting out of my comfort zone in the playoffs.”

But Seguin had just two shots on goal in Boston’s 5-2 win in Game 3 over the Leafs, and his line accounted for just six shots on net with fewer legit scoring chances than they had in either of the previous two games of the series. The dominance of David Krejci’s line overshadowed any struggles for Boston’s second scoring line, but it’s pretty clear Seguin, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron are going to be needed at some point in the series while still searching for their first goal of the series.

“The Bergeron line has had some chances and they haven’t quite capitalized, so there’s no doubt that they can be better. We’re counting on that,” said Claude Julien. “I don’t want to use the word patience, because during the playoffs patience isn’t the best thing.

“But at the same time you have to take the good things from that line. They’ve been good defensively and they have had some chances without burying them.

“Right now it’s about encouraging them to create a few more chances and show them where they can. We’ve got a line that’s going well, and the other lines have scored. Maybe tonight is the night they get what they want, and we get what we want as a team.”

For the Bruins, it’s all about defense leading into offense. Most of Boston’s offense comes from jumping on mistakes by their opponents, and those turn into a counter-attack with numbers, speed and momentum on the attackers’ side. With Bergeron, Seguin and Marchand drawing major duty against Phil Kessel’s line during the series, they’re counting on getting more of those chances to pounce on the Leafs in Game 4.

“We’re a defense team first," Seguin said. "Sometimes when we lose track of that and we’re looking for goals then you’ll see defensive breakdowns, and I think there was a little bit of that in Game 2 for us. As a line we thought that we could do a better job in Game 3 than what we did. We look at David’s line. They were pretty good in their own zone, and that was leading to opportunities where they were bearing down.

“Everybody knows what’s going on. After getting plenty of chances in the first couple of games, we weren’t as great in the offensive zone [in Game 3]. Tonight we’re going to get back to what we were doing earlier in the series. It would be awesome if we have all four lines going tonight. That means we’re going to have to step up a bit.”

While it’s nice that Seguin and his linemates are playing good defense and Marchand is clearly starting to bug Phil Kessel, those players are counted on to be offensive performers that produce off dogged puck pursuit and high-end skill. 

It looked like Seguin was ready to bust out offensively in the first couple of playoff games as he’s done so many times against Toronto, and Game 4 would be as good a time as any for Boston’s most skilled forward.