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Seguin not comfortable with results

By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / April 16, 2012
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For two games of the Bruins-Capitals series, there hasn’t been a player on either team who’s eluded a check. Such black-and-blue play has not been suited to Bruin Tyler Seguin’s offensive game.

As a rookie, Seguin’s flickering battle level cost him playoff games. He was a healthy scratch for 12 postseason matches.

As a second-year pro, Seguin has shown far more courage than he did as a rookie. But in the first round, Seguin has played like he’s been hearing footsteps. His performance in all three zones has suffered as a result.

“I’ve got to do better,’’ Seguin said. “There’s a lot of areas I want to improve on. The main thing is being consistent. The playoffs is all about getting out of your comfort zone, whether it’s blocking a shot or going to the net a bit more than you’re used to.’’

Seguin is assuming significant defensive responsibilities. He and linemates Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron are taking most of their shifts against Alex Ovechkin, Brooks Laich, and Troy Brouwer.

In Game 2, Seguin and his linemates were not on the ice when Brouwer scored in the second period. They have limited Ovechkin’s line from getting any consistent offensive sniffs on Tim Thomas.

But Washington’s physical presence has made the Bruins think twice. Ovechkin could be Washington’s most punishing hitter. Laich and Brouwer are willing to scrap in the dirty areas. Because of how dangerous the rink has become, Seguin hasn’t been as thorough as he was for most of the regular season.

Early in the second period of Game 2, Seguin, facing forechecking heat, couldn’t complete a defensive-zone pass to Johnny Boychuk. Only a last-minute dive by Boychuk prevented Ovechkin from snapping off a shot.

Seguin had three shots in Game 2. He had five shots in Game 1. His linemates haven’t been much better offensively.

Both Bergeron and Marchand had four shots in Game 2. Marchand had the best scoring chance of the group - a third-period shot from the slot that he buried in Braden Holtby’s shoulder.

With David Krejci’s line showing little offensive presence, the team’s lack of top-six production has made Holtby look cooler than a box of Altoids.

“We feel we’ve got some lines that can be a little better for us,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “They’re good. But not good enough right now. It’s about working on that happening. There are some players that are capable of giving us some more. I’m confident that they will.’’

Trying to stay fresh

Tuukka Rask, Anton Khudobin, Jordan Caron, and Mike Mottau were the only players to skate Sunday at TD Garden in advance of Monday night’s Game 3 at Washington.

The rest of the players participated in off-ice workouts, meetings, and video work.

“We’ve played about eight periods of hockey,’’ Julien said. “We’re getting closer to three games in three days instead of two in three. I wouldn’t be surprised if [Washington] did the same thing.

“You’ve got to stay fresh in the playoffs. It’s going to be a long series, I’m sure. Because of that, we have to do the right things. We needed to take a look at some things to make our team better. At the same time, you want to give guys some rest.’’

Rask (lower abdomen/groin strain) traveled with the team to Washington.

It has not been determined when he would be ready to replace Khudobin as Thomas’s backup.

Sticky situation

Given Washington’s disciplined pack-it-in system, Julien has been reminded of what the Bruins faced against Tampa Bay in last year’s Eastern Conference final.

The Lightning featured a 1-3-1 formation that took away space in the neutral zone. They deployed one defenseman deep in their zone to retrieve dump-ins and trigger the counterattack.

Washington’s last defenseman hasn’t been as deep as what the Lightning featured. But the Capitals have been just as efficient in smothering the neutral zone and limiting the Bruins’ offensive rushes.

“It’s something we’re probably not used to seeing from Washington,’’ Julien acknowledged. “We knew it was not that same type of hockey they played before under Bruce [Boudreau]. It was more up-tempo and more offensive.

“Right now, they’re sitting back when we have the puck and are in full control of it. They’re just waiting for their chances. They’ve got some skill. When they get their chances, they know they can capitalize. Right now, they’re just trying to minimize the damage we can make offensively.’’

McQuaid to sit out

Adam McQuaid (eye/head) didn’t travel to Washington, indicating he will miss Games 3 and 4. McQuaid will remain in Boston to receive treatment. “Right now, he’s not ready to go on the ice,’’ Julien said. “So he’s going to continue treatment. When he’s ready to start working out with the team, then we’ll bring him with us.’’ . . . The Bruins will have two off days following Game 3. The schedule was similar in last year’s first round, with two dark days after Game 3 in Montreal. Because of that gap last year, the Bruins made a getaway to Lake Placid, N.Y. They will not make a similar trip this week . . . NESN will air Games 3 and 4.

Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at fshinzawa@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeFluto.

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