It took a promising rookie benched for the Boston Bruins' first 11 playoff games to stop the Tampa Bay Lightning's run of eight straight wins.
Speedy, shifty Tyler Seguin had two goals and two assists in his second game back and Boston fended off visiting Tampa Bay's late offensive pressure for a 6-5 win that tied the Eastern Conference finals at 1-1 last night.
Just 19, the No. 2 pick in last year's draft energized the Bruins and thrilled the spectators. He was an onlooker himself in Boston's first two series because of defensive shortcomings.
"It's hard sitting there and not being able to help the boys," Seguin said.
So last night, with the Bruins facing a possible two-game deficit heading into Tampa for Game 3 tomorrow night, Seguin said, "I wanted to take advantage."
Seguin rejoined the lineup 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.
Yesterday, with Bergeron still sidelined, Seguin tied it at 2 just 48 seconds into Boston's five-goal second period then made it 4-2 at 6:30. Vincent Lecavalier cut the Lightning's deficit to 4-3 with a power-play goal at 7:48, but Seguin set up two goals by Michael Ryder that put Boston on top 6-3 entering the third.
"He was really the reason we won," Bruins forward Brad Marchand said.
For the Lightning, it was their first loss in 27 days since rallying 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," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "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 didn't give up because of goalie Tim Thomas' late-game determination.
"I don't think anybody's happy," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "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."
Steven Stamkos and Dominic Moore scored in the final period for the Lightning.
Adam Hall gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead 13 seconds after the opening faceoff, the quickest goal in the team's playoff history.
Nathan Horton tied Game 2 with a power-play goal at 13:58, but the Lightning took a 2-1 lead when Martin St. Louis scored with 7 seconds left in the first.
"We knew we had to be better," St. Louis said. "At that point, we were lucky to be up 2-1."
The Bruins came out aggressively in the second period.
Seguin started the barrage when he took a pass from Ryder at his blue line and used exceptional speed to race between Tampa Bay defensemen Randy Jones and Victor Hedman. Seguin went in alone on Dwayne Roloson, cut from right to left, and lifted a backhander over the sprawling goalie.
David Krejci put Boston ahead for good at 2:24 with the only Bruins' goal of the second period that didn't involve Seguin.
Thomas stopped Ryan Malone on a breakaway and, 22 seconds later, Seguin connected again at 6:30. Skating in on the right, he called for the puck. Horton passed from the left, and Seguin put in a 10-footer to the left of Roloson.
After Lecavalier cut the lead to one at 7:48, Seguin sparked the Bruins again.
His shot from the top of the right circle hit Ryder's leg in front of the net. It slid to the left where Ryder gained control and beat Roloson at 16:16 on a power play.
The crowd chanted, "Tyler Seguin, Tyler Seguin."