Commentary

Tyler Seguin has mates, foes in awe

Updated: May 18, 2011, 9:58 AM ET
By James Murphy | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins had just dominated the first period of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, outshooting the Tampa Bay Lightning 18-11 and playing their best hockey of the series to that point. But somehow, thanks to goals in the first 15 seconds and last 10 seconds of the period, it was the Lightning who had a 2-1 lead.

However, in only his second career playoff game, rookie Tyler Seguin made sure the Bruins didn't let their frustrations get the best of them. Seguin scored 48 seconds into the second period and again at the 6:30 mark, and assisted on two other goals in a five-goal outburst that left Boston with a 6-3 lead after two and sent it on its way for a 6-5 win Tuesday night.

Following the game, Seguin's teammates, his coach and even the Lightning players were in awe of the show put on by the prized rookie, who was drafted second overall by the Bruins last June.

Seguin's performance was particularly important, as he was filling in for center Patrice Bergeron -- still out with a mild concussion -- with his team potentially facing a 2-0 deficit in the series.

"He was extremely good tonight, there's no doubt about that, one of our best players out there," said coach Claude Julien, who had been heavily scrutinized for not playing Seguin more after he scored a goal on his first career playoff shot in Game 1. "And he used his speed very well tonight. He challenged their [defensemen] with it, did a great job.

"It was nice to see him respond that way. He's competed extremely well and he's been an excited individual waiting for his opportunity, and he's certainly making the best of it. Tyler was really, really good for us, just going out there with lots of confidence. It was nice to see, and that's the part that we expect out of Tyler moving forward. Hopefully that continues."

[+] EnlargeTyler Seguin
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaNathan Horton and the rest of the Bruins were thrilled to have Tyler Seguin on the ice for Game 2.

Center David Krejci was thrilled to see his young teammate finally strut the skill and creativity that made him the No. 2 pick.

"He played unbelievable," Krejci said. "He was dominant today, and it's good to see him play like that. Hopefully he can keep it going.

"Sometimes in the playoffs, it's like that. Other than that, the first line has got to step up, and they did exactly that.

"I hope he can keep doing that. Obviously you're not going to see every night a four-point game from him, but as long as he's playing with the speed he is and the intensity, he's going to bring a lot to this team."

Veteran Mark Recchi loved watching Seguin step up in the spotlight after waiting patiently as a healthy scratch in the team's first 11 playoff games. Recchi credited Seguin for his hard work at practice and determination to stay ready and sharp.

"It's fun watching a kid like Tyler come in and do what he does. It's special; it's fun," Recchi said.

"It was a learning process for him all year. No. 1, he had to learn how to compete properly and be a pro, and he did. He understood it, which is great, and he sat and he worked. He stayed after and worked hard through this past month. He got an opportunity, and it's great to see.

"He stayed ready, and that's important. To come in when you lose a guy like [Bergeron] and have the impact he had is terrific."

Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, who made 36 saves in the win, knew what Seguin could bring from facing him all season in practice. He was thankful it came out in such a big game.

"I see Tyler in practice, and he has some speed and some good moves," Thomas said. "He gets those opportunities and he knows how to score. I wasn't surprised that he buried the puck when he got those opportunities. Those were big goals for us. I don't really know what to say except I am happy for him and the whole team that he was able to do it."

Even Lightning superstar Vincent Lecavalier -- who had four points himself with a goal and three assists -- was marveling at Seguin's skill after the game.

"I think it was his first goal, he went up the ice, just flying, and that was a nice goal," Lecavalier said. "He was skating hard. He is a great skater. He is a smart player.

"The first two games for him have been great. We definitely have to keep an eye on him."

Recchi noted that the emergence of Seguin, who has six points in his two playoff games, bolsters an already-deep Bruins forward corps that could be boosted further by the possible return of Bergeron when the series heads to Tampa Bay for Game 3 on Thursday.

"You get a sniper like that who can skate and have an impact like that, that's great," Recchi said. "It just adds another weapon to what we have already. I don't think it changes what they do, but it gives us another weapon. It just gives us another opportunity to be that much better and have more scoring depth. When you have that, it makes it a lot tougher on teams."

James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPN.com.

James Murphy

Bruins reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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