An in-depth look at Tyler Seguin’s special Game 2 performance

When we discussed Sean Bergenheim’s playoff run on Monday, it was all about unexpected heroes. Few people should be surprised that Tyler Seguin had a great playoff game since he was the second pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. What was surprising, however, was the timing of that breakthrough. If Bergenheim is an unexpected hero, then perhaps Seguin is a premature hero.

Either way, the 19-year-old forward burst onto the scene by scoring six points in his first two playoff games, including an astounding four-point performance (all in the second period) tonight. To underscore just how special a start Seguin is producing, here are a few interesting bits about how his start compares to others in playoff history.

  • Seguin’s four points are the most by a teenager in any single playoff game, according to Versus.
  • Only Barry Pederson (also a Boston Bruins forward) scored more points in his first two playoff games, notching seven in 1982. Seguin is tied for second all-time with six points, joining the likes of Dale Hawerchuk.
  • Seguin managed his two goals on just three shots in Game 2.
  • Overall, he scored two goals and two assists in just 13:41 of ice time. Talk about making the most of your time on the ice. (Honestly, Joe could still make the argument that Seguin deserves more time on the ice.)
  • He was also a +3, so it’s not like he just fed off of power play production, either.

It’s not just that Seguin scored, by the way. The kid did it in style. Check out this montage from Versus.

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That’s two straight games in which Seguin scored highlight reel goals. He scored two points in Game 1, including this beauty of a goal.

Here are a few excerpts from Seguin’s post-game press conference.

Q.  Your first goal tonight looked a lot like the goal the other night.  Were you seeing the same things, the same opportunities?  What was ahead of you there?

TYLER SEGUIN:  I kind of saw the same thing.  Really, with my time off over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been working on driving the net hard and picking up speed in the neutral zone.  And that goal today, I just kind of cut to the neutral zone and they were two deep and I tried to beat them with my speed.  I wanted to mix up the move and not do the same thing that I did the last game, and it worked out.

(snip)

Q.  Your play spoke for itself tonight.  I’m just wondering, because sometimes the fans, the media, are not always aware about conversations that are had on the bench, in the locker room between periods or in down-times.  Can you share maybe a story where somebody on the bench, a coach, a teammate said something, either tonight or another night, that really made you feel good about yourself and helped you keep believing in yourself?

TYLER SEGUIN:  There were a few times where guys who do have experience like Recchi and I remember a specific time where Shawn Thornton came up to me in the second round and he said:  Look, kid if we’re going to the Cup, you’re going to get opportunity to play just because injuries are part of the game and have fun with it and enjoy the ride and take it all in and use it as a learning experience.

So I looked at it up top as an opportunity as well.  It was tough watching but I tried to take it as an opportunity and I got the chance to come in, I just wanted to seize it.

No doubt about it, Seguin is seizing his opportunities. Joel Micheletti caught up with Seguin following the game.

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Leafs pass Bruins for third in Atlantic after gutsy win against Columbus

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It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.

Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:

Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games

This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.

The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.

This game was all about William Nylander‘s brilliant start:

And also Toronto surviving a long penalty kill after that Polak hit:

Nazem Kadri‘s 30th goal really put the game out of reach, helping Toronto nab a significant victory.

The Blue Jackets can wallow in this defeat and Oliver Bjorkstrand‘s injury, either, as they turn around to face the Washington Capitals in a big one tomorrow.

Tortorella was irate after Roman Polak boarded Oliver Bjorkstrand

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John Tortorella was left enraged after Roman Polak delivered a dangerous boarding hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand, and he probably wasn’t too pleased after the Columbus Blue Jackets failed to make Toronto pay for Polak’s misdeeds.

Polak received a game misconduct and boarding major for the hit, but the Blue Jackets failed to score on a lengthy power play. Tortorella played to script, as cameras caught him expressing his anger at the situation.

First, take a look at the hit:

Next, behold Tortorella’s anger:

Again, Columbus couldn’t capitalize on its opportunities, so that didn’t make things any better.

Right now, the Maple Leafs lead the Blue Jackets 3-2. If Toronto ends up winning, this will stand as one of the game’s pivotal moments.

It’s far from the only exciting moment, however, with these goals and big hits also standing out.

Video: Josh Ho-Sang’s creativity gives Islanders a shot in the arm

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Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?

For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting up John Tavares.

The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.

Leafs’ Nylander puts on show with breakaway goal, assist on Matthews’ 33rd

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This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)

On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.

William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.

Hnnngmgghh indeed.

That goal could end up being key as the Blue Jackets quickly scored to start the second period, shrinking Toronto’s lead to 2-1 on Wednesday.

Update: OK, so Nylander’s really stealing the show. This is stupendous.