Lucic: Bruins top lines need to 'kick it into gear'

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Lucic: Bruins top lines need to 'kick it into gear'

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Bruins big-name forwards know they need to be better. The entire team needs to lift up its game, but those forwards have a lot of work to do.

After managing just one goal in each of the first two playoffs games against the Washington Capitals and making Washington rookie Braden Holtby look like the next Ken Dryden in the process the focus is on big names like Milan Lucic. And rightfully so.

Maybe right now theyre trying to be a little too cute and forcing some passes where either its a forced play or the guys not expecting it. Theyve just got to simplify a little bit more, said Claude Julien. Weve got some guys on that line Rich Peverley can shoot the puck, Dave Krejci is certainly a good playmaker, and Looch Milan Lucic can drive to net as good as anybody.

So theyve got some strength that we know can be extremely useful to our hockey club.

Theres a reason the Bs were the only team with six 20-goal scorers in the NHL this season. They have plenty of offensive skill, but it hasnt materialized during the first two games of the postseason.

After being second in the league in scoring, only getting two goals in two games is something were not happy with, said Lucic. Especially the top two lines. We need to be better . . . all of us. Especially me. We need to create opportunities in the offensive zone and we need to take it upon ourselves to be better.

Lucic and Seguin combined for the same number of shots as Shawn Thornton in Saturdays double-overtime 2-1 loss to the Caps. Lucic said that he knows he needs to be better.

Credit the Capitals for creating an unbreakable defensive front in the slot area and blocking 42 shots through the first two games.

But Lucic, at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, knows he needs to be more of a presence. Lucic should be among the first forwards crashing the net and unsettling the Caps' rookie netminder, and hes acutely aware of it.

Theyre doing a good job of making it tough on us, but its something we need to find a way to battle through it, said Lucic. Its up to us to kick it into gear and fight our way through their tight defensive checking to create offensive opportunities.

Its a mindset that we want to win those battles, we want to fight for the puck and when we get it well make good, strong plays to make the most of it.

In two games against Washington Lucic has appeared to play slowly and indecisively amid a stubborn Capitals defensive plan thats working to near perfection. While crediting Washington for a job well done, Lucic knows the Bs top two lines are better than what they've show: zero goals in two games.

While some might look at Nathan Hortons absence as a reason for the offensive no-show, there is a lot more going on than that. Its about a key piece of the Black and Gold thats given C performances at a time of the season when they need to be straight A students.

Its not like Im trying not to do anything. But youve got to put pressure on yourself to want to do better, said Lucic, who now has five goals in his last 27 playoff games after potting 10 goals in his first 30 postseason contests. I want to be better and Ill do everything I can to help this team win.

The Bruins get their first crack at doing better Monday night when they enter Washington D.C. for Game Three of a tightly-wound best-of-seven series.

Friday, Jan. 20: Canes’ Bickell tries to carry on after MS diagnosis

Friday, Jan. 20: Canes’ Bickell tries to carry on after MS diagnosis

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while simply skating my lane today.

*A terrific piece on Carolina Hurricanes forward Bryan Bickell getting on with his life after an MS diagnosis, and pushing to see if he can return to the ice.

*If the New York Islanders botch the hirings for people guiding the franchise, then John Tavares could be one of the next figures gone from Brooklyn.

*It’s been a rough go of it for St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen over the past few weeks and that continued on Thursday night.

*Top NHL Draft prospect Nolan Patrick’s value comes from his two-way play, and that’s what teams are focused on rather than the injury issues.

*Mike Babcock talks a wide range of subjects with James Duthie during a 1-on-1 with the Toronto Maple Leafs head coach.

*In his never-ending odyssey on the fringes of the NHL, Seth Griffith has been claimed by the Maple Leafs on waivers for the second time.

*Veteran forward Clarke MacArthur won’t be playing this season for the Ottawa Senators amid his concussion issues.

*For something completely different: Bill Belichick just being Bill Belichick at his press conference on Friday and that’s something we can all be reassured about.

 

Patriots have perfect attendance at final practice of AFC Championship week

Patriots have perfect attendance at final practice of AFC Championship week

FOXBORO -- The Patriots had perfect attendance at Friday's practice, meaning they had all 53 players on their active roster present and accounted for at all three practices this week. 

Contrast that with how things have gone for the Steelers this week, and there is a stark difference. Star running back Le'Veon Bell missed each of his team's first two on-the-field workouts this week, and several Steelers players are dealing with a bug that seems to have circulated the locker room. 

The Patriots could have an interesting game-day roster decision to make should Chris Hogan (thigh), Malcolm Mitchell (knee) and Danny Amendola (ankle) both be healthy enough to play on Sunday. They have not entered a game with five receivers in uniform this season but could potentially dress Mitchell, Amendola, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan and Michael Floyd.

Other players listed as limited participants in practice this week are Brandon Bolden (knee), Martellus Bennett (knee), Dont'a Hightower (shoulder) and Jabaal Sheard (knee).