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After Hat Trick Lucic is Looking Good

A three goal, four point night for Milan gives the B's their first home win

Sunday, 10.26.2008 / 7:29 AM ET / Features
By Angela Stefano  -
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After Hat Trick Lucic is Looking Good
Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images
Boston, MA -- It’s been one heck of a week for Milan Lucic.

After throwing a glass-shattering hit on Thursday, on Saturday he had a career-high four points in a game.  He also scored the game-winning goal in the 5-4 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers.  And – oh, right – there was that hat trick, also a career-high for goals in a game.

“It’s always nice when you can contribute with a few goals,” said Lucic.  “It was good to have the comeback we had…and I’m happy I could contribute.”

Lucic not only contributed,  each goal he scored came at a crucial moment for the team.

“He won us a hockey game tonight just with the way he played and the kind of identity we talk about: grinding it out, out-working, out-muscling,” said head coach Claude Julien.

His first goal, at 5:57 of the first period, tied the game at two, and his second goal, at 5:08 of the third – a tip off a Dennis Wideman slapshot – gave the Bruins a 4-3 lead.

“I’d say (tipping) is harder” than a regular shot said Lucic.  “Dennis made the shot, a slot pass right on my tape.  Good thing it went right under the bar.”

There was still one goal left in him, though.  After the Thrashers tied the contest for the final time, Lucic scored his third goal with just 1:41 remaining in the game.

Boston Bruins' Milan Lucic, second from left, celebrates his third period goal with teammates Philip Kessel (81), Dennis Wideman (6) and Andrew Ference, right, as Atlanta Thrashers goalie Johan Hedberg, of Sweden, skates away during an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008, in Boston. The Bruins won 5-4. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
He may have been cool and relaxed in the locker room after the game, but the young forward's on-ice hat trick celebration was just the opposite.

He gave a simple "low five" to Marc Savard after the puck hit the net, but he was truly grinning as he stood by the B’s bench, waiting for the ice to be cleared of many a hat, the crowd serenading him with long chants of “Looooooooooooch!”

“You’ve got to thank the fans for acknowledging it,” said Julien, who was happy about the break in the action for clean-up for a different reason.

“It probably gave us a break that we needed for the last minute-forty,” he said.

The last Bruins hat trick was a little over a year ago, when Phil Kessel scored three goals against the Los Angeles Kings.  Lucic admitted that tonight's success came as a result of simply being in front of the net, something that Coach Julien has stressed to the team.

“It’s pretty tough to have those pretty plays around the net nowadays,” said Julien, so creating traffic in front of the net is crucial.  “Lucic got rewarded for that tonight, for wanting to do that and paying the price and standing there.”

Luch also admitted that a small equipment change – he’s now wearing contacts while on the ice – may have helped.  He’s worn glasses for three years, he said, but the rest of the team kept nagging him about his squinting, so he made the change before Thursday’s game against Toronto.

“It’s like going from an old TV to a high-definition TV,” he said.  “It’s a lot easier to see the puck out there when your vision is clear.”

Boston Bruins' Milan Lucic celebrates his third goal of the game in the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Atlanta Thrashers, Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008, in Boston. The Bruins won 5-4. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
His teammates definitely weren’t bugging him now.  Praise for the young forward’s efforts came from all corners of the locker room.

“It was well-deserved,” said Marc Savard simply, adding that Bruins Vice President Cam Neely, who has become something of a mentor to Lucic because of their similar hard-hitting styles of play, would be proud.

“He’s a good guy, and he can use his size,” said David Krejci, “so that’s good for him and good for us.”

But it’s not as if his teammates were surprised.  They all know the skill Lucic has, said Shawn Thornton.

“He’s a big human for his age, he plays hard every night,” Thornton said.  “He’s got pretty decent mitts for a big kid, too.”

Lucic, however, was more focused on the big picture – the game was the Bruins first win at home, right before they’re headed to the West Coast for a week-long road trip.

“We wanted to win in front of the home crowd, and we also want, for our sake, to make this building a hard building to play in,” he said.  “We do play here 41 times a year.

“If we have a good road trip here, we can build a lot of momentum going into November.”




1 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
2 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
3 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
4 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
5 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
6 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
7 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
8 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47


P. Bergeron 53 19 26 7 45
L. Eriksson 53 16 24 10 40
D. Krejci 43 12 27 1 39
R. Spooner 53 11 27 -8 38
B. Marchand 48 25 12 11 37
Z. Chara 51 7 21 7 28
M. Beleskey 51 8 18 8 26
T. Krug 52 3 21 2 24
J. Hayes 51 11 12 -8 23
B. Connolly 50 7 9 -6 16
T. Rask 19 16 5 .916 2.56
J. Gustavsson 9 3 1 .911 2.58
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