BOSTON — Many will look at Tyler Seguin’s one-goal, one-assist performance in the Bruins’ 5-2 loss tonight to Tampa Bay and overreact by anointing him a permanent part of the team’s lineup.
At least publicly, the rookie wasn’t ready to do that after the Bruins fell behind, 1-0, in their Eastern Conference Final at TD Garden.
“I think it’s one game,” said Seguin, who was filling the lineup spot vacated by the injured Patrice Bergeron. “Right now I’m just thinking about if I get the opportunity, I’m just trying to contribute as much as I can and try to put up results for the boys and try to get wins.”
Seguin scored on his first NHL playoff shot after a deke on Mike Lundin that practically put the Tampa Bay defenseman in the balcony. But he contributed more than just the pretty goal and a garbage time assist on Johnny Boychuk’s score when the game was already decided.
The contact-averse Seguin was even credited with two hits. One came late in the second period on the forecheck against Lundin. It even rocked the glass and brought the Garden faithful to their feet.
“Yeah, I threw one in the corner, kind of my first shift in the second period, just to get back involved in the game just as quick as I can just in case I’m sitting on the bench for a while,” said Seguin.
After 11 games of watching the playoffs from the press box, Seguin said leading up to his postseason debut that he learned a lot. He showed that some of the lessons sunk in, even though he was also involved in a couple defensive breakdowns that led to Tampa Bay goals. He also coughed the puck up near the Bruins bench before Andrew Ference bailed him out with a diving poke check in the first period.
For the night, Seguin only got 11 shifts for a total of 9:38. He took just two shifts in the second period, but kept things in perspective.
“Yeah, it’s frustrating, but it’s a lot better than being up in the stands where you can’t contribute at all,” he said. “At least there I could be out with the boys and motivating everyone. Everyone was trying to keep their heads high that point. We were running into a lot of PKs and a lot of power plays and trying to get one there before the end of the second [period] but it didn’t work out.”
There’s no telling how much longer the Bruins will be without Bergeron or if Seguin did enough to earn a spot once the star center returns. At least for one night, Seguin seemed like he belonged and was a rare bright spot on a gloomy evening.