Thanks to a promising rookie who was benched for Boston's first 11 play-off games, the Bruins are even with the Tampa Bay Lightning going into Game 3 of the NHL's Eastern Conference finals tonight in Tampa.
Speedy, shifty Tyler Seguin had two goals and two assists in his second game back as Boston fended off Tampa Bay's late pressure for a 6-5 win on Tuesday night that ended Tampa Bay's streak of eight wins.
Just 19 years old, Seguin was the No 2 pick in last year's draft. He was an onlooker in Boston's first two series because of defensive shortcomings.
On Tuesday night, with the Bruins facing a possible two-game deficit, Seguin said: "I wanted to take advantage."
He rejoined the line-up for the series opener, getting a goal and an assist in Boston's 5-2 loss, when Patrice Bergeron sat out because of a mild concussion.
On Tuesday, with Bergeron still sidelined but not ruled out of the series, Seguin tied it at 2-2 just 48 seconds into Boston's five-goal second period, then made it 4-2. Vincent Lecavalier cut the Lightning's deficit to 4-3 with a power-play goal, but Seguin set up two goals for Michael Ryder that put Boston on top 6-3 entering the third.
"He was really the reason we won," Brad Marchand, the Bruins forward, said.
The defeat was the first suffered by the Lightning in 27 days after they had rallied from a 3-1 deficit against Pittsburgh in the first round.
"After eight games of playing solid, structured and intense, and doing things down to the T, there's bound to be some point you have something that might be a little different," said Guy Boucher, the Lightning coach. "Even if we would have won that game, we wouldn't be happy with the way we played."
The Bruins won and they were far from satisfied.
Certainly not with the five goals they allowed and several they did not give up because of goalie Tim Thomas.
"I don't think anybody's happy," said Claude Julien, the Bruins coach. "We want to score goals. There's no doubt there. But the way we've been giving up goals, there's nothing to be proud of."