KANATA Milan Lucic looked around early in the first period and didnt like what he saw against the Ottawa Senators.
The Bruins were lagging behind the speed of the game, flat-lining emotionally and allowing the Senators to form a shooting gallery against Tim Thomas while getting outshot by a 9-2 margin over the first 10 minutes.
So when Matt Carkner approached the Bs power forward with an invitation to dance in the NHL parlance, Lucic dropped his gloves and jumped into a legitimate heavyweight bout between hockey tough guys. Both players landed bombs squarely to the squash of the other player, and Lucic admitted it might have been the hardest hes been punched since junior hockey.
Carkner experienced some injury issues last season and that was his first NHL fight since last January, so Lucic knew that was part of his reasoning for throwing down. Lucic himselfhasonly fought once this season on Nov. 23when Paul Gaustad came looking for him in Buffalo to atone for the Ryan Miller incident.Sothe Bs left winger recognized that showing a little emotion and passion might spark his dozing teammates, and it worked out perfectly with the Bs eventually pulling out the 5-2 victory at Scotiabank Place.
He actually came up to me. For me looking at the situation it doesnt always have to be Shawn Thornton stepping up and giving the team a spark when it comes to stuff like that, said Lucic. It ended up being a good back-and-forth battle and thankfully our team was able to get a spark and a big goal afterward.
Its a time in the game where theyre outshooting us 9-2 at the time and they had the jump on us. I only had one fight going into this one and hes a good, honest hockey player. So I definitely felt like it was the right time.
Theres an accepted responsibility with guys like Lucic and Adam McQuaid that it shouldnt always have to be Shawn Thornton or Gregory Campbell jumping into the hockey fight ring to inspire their teammates. Lucic had the lumps to show for his bout with Carkner, and even better he had the results afterward in an evening that was otherwise quiet with a shot on net and one registered hit in 13 plus minutes.
It shows the chemistry we have as a group. The guys care for each other and appreciate the fact we stick up for each other, said Lucic. We built that with what we went through last year and well do whatever we can to keep that team chemistry going.
On the next shift, Rich Peverley wheeled his way through the offensive zone and snapped a wrist shot over Craig Andersons stick side to hand the Bruins a quick 1-0 lead and give them their first signs of life in the contest. It was the perfect example of a hockey fight as momentum-shifter rather than the carnival sideshow many are attempting to make them out to be given the issues some NHL enforcers went through last summer.
We were so flat that when that happened and he responded well, we scored shortly after that, said Julien. We almost needed that. The ice seemed to be tilted in one direction in that first half of the first, and we seemed to pick up our game after the Lucic fight.
Lucic loves when it a plan comes together, and the increasingly rare fight from the top line winger helped rouse the sleeping bears in Ottawa this time around.