Tyler Seguin, for example, feels like he would be ready to start the series tonight, especially if he’s diligent about eating his vegetables and getting his sleep like he said Patrice Bergeron will tell him to do via text messages. Seguin, of course, already has postseason experience, though he did not play in last year’s quarter- or semifinals. He’s fine-tuned his game and matured this season, taking the team’s scoring title with 29 goals and working very well with Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Claude Julien has taken note of Seguin’s maturity, hoping that he just keeps getting better and better as he grows.
Speaking of Bergeron, he’s becoming to Seguin and Marchand what Mark Recchi was to him: a leader and mentor. He knows the potential in his linemates and is pleased by what he sees.
“Those two guys are very passionate about the game – they have so much talent. It’s about having fun out there and trying to communicate as much as we can and really pass on my leadership and what I’ve learned, but they are doing a great job on their own and each and every day it seems they are learning and they want to learn, which is key,” he said.
Fun fact: this is Bergeron’s fifth postseason appearance–and his fifth with Boston.
Another leader eager to play is Zdeno Chara. Look for him to be matched up with Alexander Ovechkin, who in the four-game series with the Bruins this season had no goals and three assists. Chara knows Ovechkin isn’t the only guy to keep an eye on, but he’s still motivated by the captain-captain matchup.
But let’s not forget the Merlot Line! Tough guy Shawn Thornton said he enjoys this time of year. Gregory Campbell got more cerebral and talked about the importance of everyone on every line contributing in some way–Merlot can do that both in terms of offense (all three of them have about 15 points each) and in terms of bringing the physical presence too. Thornton pointed out that last year’s third line, which had Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley with Michael Ryder, had a lot of secondary scoring. That third line still boasts Kelly, but now has him with Benoit Pouliot and Brian Rolston, though they continue to contribute well too.
Julien also likes the way Milan Lucic has improved. Granted, he wasn’t ever kept off the scoresheet for an extended period of time, but now Julien says that “he’s skated as well as we’ve seen him skate…he’s hard to stop when he decides to go to the net.”
Regarding the middle-of-the-road power play, Julien said that there are times when they’ve done everything well–except score. He added, maybe with a hint of humor, that the key is to not wait until the Finals for the man advantage to improve.
Marchand also provides his own first-person input on things heading into the postseason for ESPN–topics like the scoring race, awards and playoff beards. It’s a good read.
Stay right here for more Bruins coverage heading into the playoffs!