Right now, Tyler Seguin has the eyes of the NHL watching him. Fans, teammates and opponents are taking notice of the young rookie and his outstanding performance in the first two playoff games of his career.
The Eastern Conference final is no easy way to break into the lineup after missing an extended period of time, watching from the rafters of the press box.
But Seguin has made a seamless transition at the young age of 19 years old, and in the process he's managed to undress a veteran goaltender, a deep and formidable playoff opponent, and has stolen the spotlight from the scoring stars of the South.
"He's a great skater and he's a smart player," said Tampa Bay captain Vincent Lecavalier. "The first two games for him have been great, so we're going to have to definitely keep an eye on him and structurally, play better and not give those chances."
The thing is, Seguin doesn't need much. He's been able to capitalize on every opportunity — or are they mistakes? — that Tampa gives him. Whether it's a speedy breakaway to embarrass the likes of Victor Hedman and Randy Jones, or a sick snap shot, Seguin finds ways to score goals.
In a mere two playoff games, Seguin has showed everyone why he deserves to be in the lineup. Six points in two games? That doesn't happen often. As a matter of fact, the four points Seguin tallied in the second period made him the first teenager ever to notch that many points in one period of a playoff game and only the second rookie to do so. The first rookie? None other than former Bruin Barry Pederson, who tallied three goals and one assist in the second period of a first-round victory by Boston in 1982.
So what has made Seguin go from scoring just one point in his final 23 regular-season games, into a superstar goal scorer in the Eastern Conference final?
"I try to take a negative and turn it into a positive," said the 19-year-old rookie after Tuesday night's win. "I think it's just a learning curve. As I went on, I felt more confident, more poised."
You think? Seguin has shown an incredible amount of maturity in the last week than he has all season long. Critics called him a cocky kid, and the score sheet throughout the regular season was inconsistent and offered truth to their evaluation.
But say what you will — this kid has come a long way since the end of April, and for argument's sake, the beginning of October.
At this point, give credit where it's due for Seguin's recent success: the kid and the vets. The incredible leadership in the Bruins locker room has allowed them to have this success in the postseason- and for their young star.
Seguin himself sure knows it. "Shawn Thornton came up to me and said, 'If we’re going to the Cup, you’re going to get an opportunity.' It was tough watching, but now I have an opportunity and I have to seize it. I know the injury [ to Patrice Bergeron] came and I wanted to take advantage of the ice time. If the opportunity comes next time, I'll try to do the same."
The TD Garden crowd chanted Tyler Seguin's name on Tuesday night during the B's thrilling win to even up the series at one game a piece. They even cheered louder for Seguin than the goal scorer when TD Garden public address announcer Jim Martin announced Seguin on the two assists he had.
Must be nice.
Even his head coach expressed praise, as he rarely does with the youngster. "He’s an exciting individual, waiting for his opportunity, and he certainly made the most of it," said Claude Julien following his team’s 6-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Tyler Seguin has matured, at least for the moment. And this star is shining bright for the Black and Gold.