BOSTON – The NHL’s postseason is an all-out war. It’s a grueling grind that requires countless sacrifices and leaves many of its combatants bloodied and bruised. It’s a time when the tough, quite simply, get tougher, and even those known strictly for their finesse add a little feistiness to their game.
A total of 305 forwards and defensemen from 16 different teams have hopped over the boards and taken part in playoff hockey through the first five calendar days of the 2012 postseason. Combined, they’ve dished out 1,271 hits.
In the first two games of their quarterfinal series, the Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins have accounted for 146 of them. Only one member of the Black and Gold has seemingly failed to flip his proverbial switch into playoff mode.
Through two tilts, Tyler Seguin is the lone Bruin who has yet to be credited with a hit. While everyone knows how wonky the stat sheet can be sometimes, the sophomore sensation that led Boston in scoring during the regular season has regularly exuded the timidity that made him a spectator for the first two rounds of the playoffs a year ago.
Before his second pro year began, Seguin bulked up and pledged to play with more jam than he had as a rookie. The 20-year-old forward followed through on that in spurts, but none of those traits have been seen so far in this series.
To his credit, the young winger knows that has to change.
“I’ve got to do better,” Seguin said. “I think there’s a lot of areas I want to improve on. The main thing is being consistent. The playoffs are all about getting out of your comfort zone, whether it’s blocking shots, hitting a bit more or going to the net a bit more than you’re used to.”
Seguin has eight shots to his credit in the first two games. Along with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, his line has been responsible for 20 of the B’s 74 shots in the series. In addition to ratcheting his intensity level up a few notches, this year’s 67-point man hopes he and his linemates can start capitalizing on their chances.
“There’s a lot of little things,” Seguin said when asked what his line can improve on. “I think as a line we’ve done a pretty good job in our own zone and the neutral zone. Now it’s about producing.”
If he wants to make good on that and help the Bruins start putting more pucks past Braden Holtby going forward, Seguin is going to have to be a far more willing combatant on the battlefield.