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Lucic Picking up Speed in Playoff Race

Milan Lucic helped the B's keep the Thrashers at bay in the standings.

Wednesday, 03.24.2010 / 11:34 AM / Features
By Samantha Wood  - BostonBruins.com

Boston, MA – After missing a total of 32 games this year due to injuries, Bruins forward Milan Lucic has spent much of the season finding his game and rhythm. As his performance in last night’s 4-0 win in Atlanta proved, the 21-year-old is well on his way back to his old powerhouse self.

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In his over 14 minutes on the ice, Lucic ended the night with one goal, one assist, and a +3 rating. That brought his point total to 15 in his 40 games this season.

Though his road back to the hardnosed, high-scoring Lucic of last season has been a difficult one, his improvement is undeniable. With each game he inches closer, and not a minute too soon as the Bruins battle for a sure spot in the playoffs come April.

“He’s been playing really well,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said of Lucic, both of whom grace the facade of the TD Garden under the words, "Big and Bad are Back."
 
“He’s obviously been more patient with the puck, making some plays, using his size and strength. For sure he’s playing much better and it couldn’t be better timing for us this time, when you have guys stepping up and playing the way they can.”

Last season Lucic averaged almost .6 points per game, compared to this season, where he currently stands at .375 points per game. In addition, Lucic averaged almost two penalty minutes per game last season, a stat that has dropped by roughly half this season. But the numbers game, though telling, can often cloud what is obvious on the ice. Milan Lucic has heart and that sort of energetic, tough attitude has spread throughout the B’s dressing room.

“He’s being stronger on the puck, protecting it, getting it out,” said head coach Claude Julien. “I think his game’s coming around, so he’s just got to keep going because that line…did a pretty good job for us.”

Last night, with the help of David Krejci, Lucic scored on Thrashers netminder Johan Hedberg with a sharp wrist shot in the second period, giving the Bruins a solid 2-0 lead.

“When I got the puck, before I touched it, I saw [Lucic] going in the slot and I just tried to find him,” Krejci said. “He got it on his stick, but he made a great shot. So you got to give credit to him.”

As Lucic and Krejci shared the top spot in the points column last night, they also shared the same sentiment going into the final 10 regular season games.

“I think we have a pretty good team and we just don’t show it that often,” Krejci said. “Lately we’ve been showing it pretty well on the road, but we’ve got to do it at home too and find consistency before we get in the playoffs, but we got to get there first.”

Lucic echoed Krejci’s opinion, both eager to better the team's conference standing.

“We just got to remember what we did and bring the same sort of mentality,” Lucic said. “It’s a dogfight from even the fifth spot to the eighth spot.”

With their eyes on the prize and with Lucic coming back to his crash, bang, and booming ways, there’s no doubt the Bruins homestretch will be an exciting one. With points at a premium, Lucic and his teammates look ahead; ready to fight tooth and nail for every last one.

Lucic said, “If we can put a good winning streak here together, we can do ourselves a favor and move ourselves up the standings.”

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
3 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
4 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
5 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
6 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
7 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
8 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Krejci 80 19 50 39 69
P. Bergeron 80 30 32 38 62
J. Iginla 78 30 31 34 61
M. Lucic 80 24 35 30 59
B. Marchand 82 25 28 36 53
R. Smith 82 20 31 28 51
C. Soderberg 73 16 32 4 48
Z. Chara 77 17 23 25 40
T. Krug 79 14 26 18 40
L. Eriksson 61 10 27 14 37
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Rask 36 15 6 .930 2.04
C. Johnson 17 4 3 .925 2.10
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