Seguin Ready to Step Up, if Horton Can't Go
CHICAGO, IL - When Nathan Horton didn't return to Game One's triple overtime barn-burner, with what would later be terms a "day-to-day" injury, Tyler Seguin was the one to slot onto the right wing with Milan Lucic and David Krejci.
He had assisted earlier in the game on Patrice Bergeron's power-play tally that had made it 3-1. The forward eventually put up a team-leading eight shots in 29:18 of ice time.
If Horton is unavailable for Saturday night (that is still a big "if," considering he skated with the team during Friday's practice and was labeled a gameday decision by Head Coach Claude Julien), Seguin would likely be tabbed to fill in.
"He skated, had some chances. He's got the speed to be up there with them, got the skill," said Julien, the day following the 4-3 overtime loss to Chicago, in which Seguin finished the game with Lucic and Krejci.
"For him, it's an opportunity right now. He did a great job. We'll see where everybody stands here by Saturday."
"He's been skating well - to me right now, the only thing he needs to do is to be able to finish. If he can finish," Coach also said, of Seguin's game, which is built around his speed.
"It will certainly help his confidence, help our hockey club. I'm not criticizing his work ethic because he's competing hard and he's got some chances. Those things are certainly a positive thing. So there's only one thing left to do, and you hope for his sake and our sake that it comes along."
Seguin has adapted to his third line role since he moved there in Game Seven of the first round against Toronto. If he's given the opportunity in the top six during the Stanley Cup Final, he'll embrace that as well. In the playoffs, teammates do whatever will help the greater goal.
"Well, it's not about the individual this time of year, it's about whatever it takes for the team to win," said Shawn Thornton, who infamously gave Seguin a quick chat between the third period and overtime of that Game Seven comeback. No. 19 played a significant net-front goal on Bergeron's series-clinching OT goal.
"I thought he was pretty good on the power play last game. Obviously he filled in when Horty went down. I thought he had some, his legs were there, he was skating. I'm hoping some pucks will go in for him sooner rather than later."
If Seguin has to step up, Lucic knows what he could bring to their line.
"Obviously they're both great players. They're both great in their own way," said Lucic of both Horton and Seguin. "Nathan's a little bit more of a physical player, but Segs is a guy that uses his speed to his advantage, so they're special in their own ways."
"And Tyler's proven that he can score goals and put up points in this league, and when Nathan got hurt last year in January, me, Krech and Seguin played a lot of games together and we were successful together as well."
"So whatever happens, happens. We're just focused on going out there and playing our game no matter who we play with."
"I'll be ready with whoever I'm playing with," Seguin told NHL.com. "I'm not sure who it will be with, but I just want to be able to step up where needed and contribute."
"Krejci is pretty hot right now, and we had good chemistry when we were together. Obviously I'd want to try and establish chemistry early, and it'll be different than the chemistry I had with [Brad] Marchand and [Patrice] Bergeron because I've played with them off and on for two years. I would look forward to it though, if [Horton] couldn't go."
And though Seguin only has one goal this postseason and three assists, he's been close to breaking through on countless occasions. He, more than, anyone else, is wishing that would happen soon. And so are his teammates.
"You think so, especially with some of the chances he had last game," said Lucic of Seguin's opportunities. "Hopefully he can build off that and break through in Game 2."
No matter who is on the Bruins' top-scoring line of the playoffs, there's one factor that will not change - and that's Krejci's vision and creativity.
"He's played with different guys before. You saw Seguin go there last game. Seguin has played with him before. He's a pretty smart player - he just wants players to move and he finds them," said Julien, of Krejci.
"I don't think it's a big challenge for David. I don't think it's a big challenge for whoever plays with him. All you got to do is the right thing: get open and he'll find you."
"David is patient with the puck. If he can't find his wingers, he finds a D coming in late. I don't think it's a big adjustment to play with him, whatever winger ends up playing with him. All he has to do is get open."
The Bruins have the confidence in their teammates, and if Seguin has to fill in, they expect him to do the job.
"Well he’s done it before. He’s obviously a player that can have a huge impact on a series," Andrew Ference told media in between Games One and Two. "He can put the puck in the net. He’s getting himself in the right spots and creating a lot of things. If you’re a defensemen on the other side you’re obviously aware of the danger that he presents."
"So if he can hop into there and find the back of the net, then that's going to be a great thing for us."