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All signs point to Patrice Bergeron making his debut in the Eastern Conference finals in tonight’s Game 3. Although there has been no official confirmation from the team or Coach Claude Julien; Joe Haggerty reports that Bruins sources have confirmed to CSNNE.com that Bergeron has been cleared to play this evening.
In his pregame conference this morning, the coach was ambiguous regarding Bergeron’s return, as he has been since his star centre went down with a concussion in the series clinching Game 4 against the Philadelphia Flyers.
“Yeah I mean he is still day to day, until I am told that he is clear,” said Julien. “You know obviously he skated this morning and I got to see what is going on…as I said, the best thing to do is if you see him out there warming for tonight, he is not out there for a skate – he is going to play.”
Along with Bergeron’s return comes speculation on who will be sat in favor of keeping his injury-replacement, rookie Tyler Seguin, on the ice. It is expected that 4th line defensive enforcer Shawn Thornton will be the healthy scratch.
Seguin had an incredible breakaway goal that was the lone bright spot in the B’s loss to the Lightning in Game 1. He also contributed 4 points including 2 goals in the Bruins win in Game 2; a record for a teenager in the NHL playoffs. Having sat the first two series, he has seized the opportunity to prove his playoff mettle.
Tampa Bay Lightning Coach Guy Boucher responded this morning about making adjustments in response to Seguin’s success so far in the series.
Well, the first two games it’s clear. I think the players and everybody underestimated his speed. And that’s the main thing. His speed is obviously a weapon for him and for his team. And being a young guy, having success right away, certainly takes a lot of nervousness away. And for us we know that he’s going to be on the ice. We have to be able keep on him.
He also spoke on how Bergeron’s return will affect the way they approach their strategy for tonight’s matchup.
“It changes a lot of things in terms of the way the game is going to develop,” Boucher said. “So we’re expecting him to be there for the opening faceoff… I think he’s going to be there. It just makes it way harder.”