BOSTON – Michael Ryder laughed during the post game when a reporter asked about the chemistry between himself and 19-year-old Tyler Seguin “over the years.”
“Over the years? It’s been a year,” Ryder said.
But you never would have guessed it’s only been a year since Bruins forward Tyler Seguin joined the NHL. In fact, it’s only the second playoff game Seguin has ever played professionally and already the rookie’s play has been tagged more like a veteran and less like a greenhorn, thanks to his efforts in the Bruins 6-5 win over Tampa Bay in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Seguin was called upon when Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron left Game 4 against the Flyers and was diagnosed with a concussion. While Bergeron was ruled out for the first game of the Eastern Conference Finals, Seguin was given his first playoff opportunity to see what he could do. In a 5-2 losing effort, Seguin still posted a goal and an assist with the help of Ryder.
As Seguin pointed out, Ryder assisted on not only his first playoff goal, but also his first career NHL goal as well.
“Yeah, I think I always felt we were clicking throughout the season,” Seguin said. “I’ve got to give a lot of credit to that guy. So, I think I try to use my speed and I’ve always been a decent playmaker and he’s got a tremendous shot. So really when I’m in their zone, I’m just looking for that guy and I know he’s not going to make a mistake.”
In Tuesday night’s game, the chemistry only seemed to grow, as the line centered around Chris Kelly produced eight points — all of Seguin’s points coming in the second period. Seguin accounted for two goals and two assists, while Ryder also found the back of the net twice and helped out on one of Seguin’s goals. Kelly was also credited with an assists.
While impressive, Ryder wasn’t surprised with Seguin’s play, though he was happy with the results his line has been able to deliver.
“He wasn’t drafted second overall for no reason,” Ryder said. “But he’s definitely got great skill there. We have some chemistry together, and we clicked. We read off each other well. I don’t know what it is, but it’s a good thing I guess.”
Seguin has the skill, and perhaps all he needed was a bit of fine-tuning. Though he said it was “tough” to watch the first couple rounds of the playoffs as a healthy scratch, he was able to watch and learn a lot before stepping out on the ice. That, paired with a little helpful words from his teammates has blossomed into six points in his first two playoff games.
“I told him in the offensive zone to hold on to the puck and don’t just throw it away,” Ryder said. “I said, ‘You’re good enough to just make plays and that’s all we need,.’ He’s been doing that and it’s been great.”
While the Bruins did give up five goals of their own, making the game a lot closer in the final minutes of the third period, getting production without Bergeron in the lineup was something they were hoping for. David Krejci and Nathan Horton added the two other Bruins goals.
“I mean, four goals between the two of them is certainly a big reason why we won this game tonight,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said about Ryder and Seguin.
“But Mike [Michael Ryder] played well and like I said, Tyler was really, really good for us with just going out there with lots of confidence. And it was nice to see and that’s the part that we expect out of Tyler moving forward, and hopefully that continues.”