BOSTON — There’s very little to write home about the Bruins’ 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals Saturday night at TD Garden, but Tyler Seguin’s performance after only 9:38 of ice time (with no power play minutes) could perhaps become a building block, at least for the No. 2 overall pick.
After the Bolts took a quick 3-0 lead off of Bruins’ turnovers — with goals from Sean Bergenheim, Brett Clark and Teddy Purcell — Seguin took a feed from Michael Ryder and walked in on goaltender Dwayne Roloson, sliding a puck past the veteran for his first career postseason goal. Seguin also added an assist on Johnny Boychuk’s third goal of the postseason late in the final frame during garbage time.
“He had a good game,” head coach Claude Julien said about Seguin’s performance. “I thought when he had the chance, we took advantage of it and scored and obviously he had a lot of energy tonight and excitement in his game. He was a good player for us.”
After his goal, though, Seguin saw limited action after his goal and only had two shifts in the second period.
Granted the Bruins were rarely playing five-on-five hockey, but, after the struggles continued for the power play — going 0-for-4 — one has to wonder how Seguin could have performed on the man advantage.
Though Seguin would have liked to have seen more ice time, the rookie forward finally got some playing time during the postseason.
“It’s frustrating, but it’s a lot better than being up in the stands where you can’t contribute at all,” Seguin said. “At least there I could be out with the boys and motivating everyone. Everyone was trying to keep their heads high at that point.”
On the other hand, Seguin is looking to get settled into his role with Patrice Bergeron out of the lineup.
“We had a lot of PK’s and PP’s and right now I’m not in that loop,” Seguin noted. “I was just trying to stay ready on the bench and try to motivate that guys and be ready for my next shift.
“I definitely want to play on the PP, but I know what I have to do right now. I got to contribute any way I can and if I get that opportunity, I’m going to try to make the most of it. I know I’ve been sitting out all playoffs, so I understand why I’m not being thrown on the power play.”
Julien decided to make a switch to start the third period moving Seguin on the second line with Chris Kelly and Brad Marchand with Mark Recchi filling Seguin’s place on the third line with Ryder and Rich Peverley. After not seeing much ice time in the second period, Julien wanted Seguin to get some more shifts by placing him with Marchand and Kelly, who both struggled Saturday night.
“It was just to make sure he got in the game,” Julien said. “He skated well, he had a goal, he had some opportunities, and this was an opportunity for him to go in and help us out. With all the power plays and penalties that we had, it was important to move Tyler into some spots here and that’s what we did.”
So will Seguin get playing time in Game 2, particularly power play?
Julien did not give a definitive answer regarding Seguin seeing some time on the power play, but one should expect the first-year forward to get at least a little more ice time Tuesday night.