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.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.

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.