Tyler Seguin grew up in Brampton, Ont., dreaming of playoff goals and clutch game-winners.
Yet he might not have dared to dream of playing the (overtime) hero in Game 6 of the Boston Bruins' first-round playoff series against the Washington Capitals after struggling mightily in the first five games.
But Seguin had a couple of long conversations with road roommate Gregory Campbell after five scoreless games to start the post-season and vowed to harness his feelings into determination rather than frustration.
"Well, I'm not a motivational speaker," Campbell said. "I've been roommates with [Seguin] for two years now and I've developed a relationship where I could tell that he was extremely disappointed.
"He's a star player. He's going to be the face of the franchise sooner rather than later.
"He cares a lot and the growing pains have been there for the last two seasons. Everybody knows that he's in a tough position right now.
"He put together a lot of points for us. But everybody expects so much out of him.
"He's had a giant bear on his shoulders out there [in the series]. He cares a lot about whether we win or lose and he showed it in overtime."
Campbell's words helped the 20-year-old get his mind focused back into being one of the most exciting players in the NHL world. Seguin had only one shot through the first two periods of Game 6 against the Capitals. But he exploded for three shots on net in the third period and OT, while taking over offensively.
It was the time that the Bruins needed him most and he came through after going 16 straight playoff games without a goal. Seguin caused a turnover in the defensive zone, near the blue-line, and rushed up the right wing before firing a shot that set up Andrew Ference's rebound goal that helped propel them to OT.
But it was in the extra session when Seguin truly shined. He had a scoring chance on his first shift, only to be denied by Washington goaltender Braden Holtby. So Seguin determined, in his own mind, that he wouldn't miss if given another shot and he was dead on the money.
"I think, in this series, we've had a lot of chances and opportunities and I haven't been bearing down and finishing them off," Seguin admitted afterward. "It's just really nice to get that feeling of finally getting one.
"We really thought, going into tonight's game, [the skilled forwards] needed to get production. I thought we played well.
"The guys that are getting production this season had a good game. Not too many good bounces so far in the series, so [to] see it happen tonight and see the guys finally rewarded is definitely nice."
David Krejci forced Nicklas Backstrom into a costly turnover in his own end, the centre fed the puck to Milan Lucic along the side boards and he found Seguin all alone, on the other side of the ice, with speed and a homing beacon for the net.
Seguin attacked the net and forced Holtby into a flopping butterfly position, waited patiently and buried the first OT playoff winner of his NHL career. The goal lifted a weight off Seguin's shoulders and set up Wednesday's decisive Game 7 (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET) for a Bruins team that appears most at home playing in do-or-die scenarios for playoff advancement.
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