Tyler Seguin

File it under “duh”: Claude Julien says Tyler Seguin is in for Game 3

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While Patrice Bergeron is getting closer to returning to the Bruins lineup (we’ll know more after tomorrow’s morning skate), his eventual return means that someone is going to have to sit out of the starting lineup. Given how well things went for the Bruins last night in their 6-5 win over Tampa Bay in Game 2, the choices are a bit tougher to come by.

With the options being between Bergeron’s replacement Tyler Seguin, winger Michael Ryder, and tough guy Shawn Thornton the one guy most Bruins fans might’ve been worried about was Seguin. After the way Seguin has played in the first two games of this series, even coach Claude Julien, who scratched Seguin for the first two rounds of the playoffs, knows that he can’t just sit down the hot hand.

CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty gets the scoop from the Bruins coach that there’s no way Seguin comes out in favor of Bergeron if he’s ready for Game 3.

“He’s in. [Seguin] will certainly be in the lineup,” said Julien of Seguin’s availability for Game Three. “He’s earned it. I really liked what I saw out of that whole line actually.

“You don’t pull a guy like that out of your lineup that’s been very good. Like I said, he’s earned it, he deserves to be in the lineup, and that’s what we want to see. We want to see those kind of things happening.”

It’s expected that B’s enforcer Shawn Thornton will be the odd guy out if Patrice Bergeron also returns to the Boston fold when the B’s get going at the St Pete Times Forum for Game Three.

Sanity prevails in Beantown.

Taking Seguin out after he’s been producing like this, even in limited minutes, would’ve been madness even in getting the Bruins top scorer after two rounds back in Bergeron. Whether you want to attribute Seguin’s play to being motivated after being benched for the first 11 games of the playoffs or chalk it up to Tampa Bay not doing their part to shut down the Bruins third line that’s your prerogative but the facts are that Seguin’s talent is finally seeing the light of day and he’s showing just what he’s capable of.

Should Thornton be the guy to come out, the Bruins aren’t losing much of anything there aside from a great quote guy for after the game. Yes he plays solid, physical hockey but he also plays less than nine minutes a game. Going with a deeper lineup that has both Seguin and Bergeron in it makes the Bruins that much more dangerous. They’ve already got the physical element nailed down, but the goals must keep coming so long as the Bruins defense isn’t doing their job to slow down Tampa Bay’s offense.

This discussion might all be moot tomorrow if Bergeron is a no-go, but the fact that Julien has finally stuck with Seguin is a good thing to see for both Seguin and the rest of the team.

Pens coach praises Murray: ‘He doesn’t get rattled’

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Hot take: the Pittsburgh Penguins probably won’t deal with a goalie controversy going into Game 7.

(Ugh, that’s a failed hot take … you can’t use “probably” in those things, right?)

Matt Murray was fantastic at times during Game 6, much like his counterpart in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s net in a 5-2 win. Granted, there were some tense moments during the Bolts’ late-game push:

Much has been made about experience, especially from those calling for Marc-Andre Fleury earlier in this series. It’s telling that the praise Murray draws sure sounds like what you’d expect from a “veteran.”

“He has a calming influence,” Sullivan said. “He doesn’t get rattled. If he lets a goal in, he just continues to compete. That’s usually an attribute that usually takes years to acquire that, and to have it at such a young age is impressive.”

Thanks in part to Murray’s efforts in Game 6, he’ll get a chance to prove his resolve in something new: a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final.

Once again, his teammates seem pretty confident in this elimination situation.

Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

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The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to sleepwalk through the first two periods of Game 6, and waking up in the final frame wasn’t enough to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On the bright side, at least the Lightning aren’t in denial about that weak first 40 minutes.

It seemed like everyone on the team more or less admitted as much in unison.

Brian Boyle added that he felt like the Lightning tiptoed around this game. Jon Cooper often provides great quips, yet he was pretty matter-of-fact in this case.

Many will linger on this disallowed goal for Jonathan Drouin, which would have provided a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay in the first period.

Let’s face it; that moment came pretty early in the game. To Tampa Bay’s credit, they’re not pinning the loss on that setback.

Now they must set their sights on competing throughout Game 7 … and maybe earning some bounces of their own in the process.

Read more about Game 6 here.

Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

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The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

What if that offside goal counted?

Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

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Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.

Sidney Crosby scores a superstar goal

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With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.

Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.

The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.