Amassing five points and an average faceoff percentage of 71.4 percent in the four-game set, Patrice Bergeron was a solid piece for the Boston Bruins in the last series against the Philadelphia Flyers. Bergeron, however, suffered a head injury from a hit in the final game, and was diagnosed with a concussion.
The Bruins had significant time to wait around until facing the Tampa Bay Lightning, who also swept their opponent, the Washington Capitals, but as displayed all season, no one really wants to rush back a player who had a head injury. As a result, head coach Claude Julien had to go with the rookie, Tyler Seguin, to take Bergeron’s place for Game 1 of the Tampa/Boston series.
The Bruins lost 5-2 in Game 1, but Seguin had a hand in both of Boston’s only successful shots: scoring on one and assisting on the other – even after Julien only gave Seguin two shifts in the second period. While the Bruins lost, they lost for many reasons, one being that they failed miserably in adjusting to Tampa’s 1-3-1 trap system, even with all that time to prepare, and of course, not being able to score on the power play.
Game 2 rendered much more success for the Bruins. The B’s lost a 6-2 lead in the third period, they held on for a 6-5 victory to tie the series. Seguin put in his work, scoring on his first shift of the game 48 seconds into the first period to tie the game at 2-2. After that, it was impossible to hold the 19-year-old to less time, and he added three more points by the end of the match, one more goal and two assists (one on the power play). By the game’s end, the Boston faithful among the 17,565 fans in attendance had been chanting Seguin’s name in light of his four-point performance.
According to NHL.com, the young center’s four-point performance was the first time a teenager recorded four points since Trevor Linden did with the Vancouver Canucks in 1989.
“Yeah he was extremely good tonight,” said Julien of his rookie star. “There’s no doubt about that, one of our best players out there.”
Seguin has had much success in the two games he’s played so far, but it took an injury for him to get playing time. Partially, this is because while Seguin has been touted to be a great talent, he only tallied 22 points, ended up a -4, and struggled mightily toward the end of the regular season. As many head coaches feel, it is tough to want to trust a rookie in high-pressure situations like the playoffs, as was seen in Philadelphia with their rookie goaltender Sergei Bobvrosky. While it may seem so now, Seguin obviously isn’t the end-all-be-all of solutions, but with the Bruins needing as much offense and power play help as possible to support Tim Thomas’ stellar performances, sometimes you have to put all your chips in.