Bruins notes: Lucic failed to show up


Bruins notes: Lucic failed to show up

By Joe Haggerty

WILMINGTON, Mass. Milan Lucic is a tone-setter for the Bruins in just about every sense of the word. Hes a big game player with 18 points (8 goals, 10 assists) in his last 24 NHL postseason games, but the 22-year-old was completely invisible for nearly all of Thursday nights 2-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in Game One of the playoffs.

The Habs managed to completely neutralize David Krejci in the first game by having Tomas Plekanec shadow the Bs center all over the ice, and Lucic wasnt able to gain any kind of a foothold offensively or physically.

Lucic led the Bruins with 30 goals scored this season, but he didnt even register a shot on net in the first two periods of Game One. He finally got on the board in the third period, but there wasnt nearly enough work by the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Lucic and 6-foot-2, 225-pound Nathan Horton to blast holes in the Montreal defense guarding Carey Price.

"I think we all know that although we played a decent game, we can all be a little better," Claude Julien said. "As a team, we feel we can be a little better. That's to a man. Not necessarily just putting all the emphasis on one guy. No doubt Lucic has a big impact on our hockey club. Certainly we need him at his best."

Hal Gill and P.K. Subban were charged with standing their ground in front of the Montreal net, and didnt really budge at all when matched time after time against the KrejciLucicHorton line.

Bostons size and strength didnt come into play against the Canadiens as many thought it would in Game One, and its up to them to decide to step and join the playoff party after coasting a bit too much in the first Montreal game. Lucic hasnt scored in the last 11 games, and Krejci had a single assist and a minus-3 in his last five games entering the playoffs. Both players need to start putting in a playoffs-style days work if they hope to harvest some results against Gill and Subban.

"Gill is a big defenseman and he certainly does a good job of boxing out, said Julien. Subban is also a very good player. He's a guy that carries the puck very well and is very mobile. He was a good asset for them as well. You've got to give credit where credit is due. At the same time, you've got to look at your team and find ways to make your team better. I think our guys have to be a little better in battling through those kinds of picks and those situations where they box you out."

Tyler Seguin was on the ice at Ristuccia Arena more than 30 minutes after the rest of his teammates had finished up their practice session and retired to the Bs dressing room. Seguin continued to fire pucks at the net and perfect that curl-and-draw wrist shot from the left faceoff dot that he scored against Nashvilles Pekka Rinne a weapon that the Bs could certainly have used while going 0-for-3 on the man advantage during their Game 1 loss.

Seguin continues to split time with Michael Ryder at the right wing spot and it looks like itll be a choice between those two players if it ever comes down to it during this postseason run. Seguins status as the last guy on the ice would seem to indicate hell be a healthy scratch for Game 2 as well.

Every Bruins player that was supposed to be on the ice made it out there for Fridays practice, and appeared to make it out of Game 1 with their health intact. The Bs defensemen corps worked quite a bit on breakouts and reversing the puck, and the kind of transition game that led immediately to Montreals first goal early in the first period on a careless puck reversal by Tomas Kaberle.

General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced Friday that the club has recalled forward Kirk MacDonald and defensemen Andrew Bodnarchuk and Colby Cohen from the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League to serve as Black Aces for the Bs during their playoff run. All three players will remain in Providence and train with the P-Bruins coaching staff.

The Bruins stat of the week courtesy of Bs media relations maven Eric Tosi: The Bruins went 5-1-0 in the six games following games in which they were shut out during the regular season, including an 8-6 win over Montreal on Feb. 9 which followed an 0-2 loss to San Jose on Feb. 5.

They have not been shut out in consecutive playoff games since May 7 (0-5) and May 8 (0-3), 1995 vs. New Jersey in the Conference Quarterfinals.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Spooner responds positively to healthy scratch


Spooner responds positively to healthy scratch

BOSTON -- It wasn’t perfect by any means, but Saturday night represented a step in a positive direction for Ryan Spooner.

The 24-year-old speedy forward was scratched for the home opener against New Jersey in classic message-sending fashion by Bruins coach Claude Julien, and deserved it based on a passive lack of production combined with some costly mistakes as well. So he stayed quiet, put in the work and then returned to the lineup Saturday vs. the Montreal Canadiens where he scored a power play goal in the 4-2 loss to the Habs at TD Garden.

“He was better,” agreed Claude Julien. “He was better tonight.”

Spooner could have had even more as he got a couple of great scoring chances in the first period vs. Montreal, but Carey Price was able to turn away a couple of free looks at the Montreal net. So the Bruins forward felt he possibly left points on the ice after it was all said and done, but also clearly played his best game of the young season after going from the press box back to the lineup.

“Yeah, I had like maybe four or five [chances] that I could have scored on,” said Spooner. “I’ve just got to bear down on those [scoring opportunities], and a lot [of them] in the first period. It’s good that I’m getting those looks, but I have to score on them.

“I’m just going to go out there and just try to play. I can’t really think about [fighting to hold a spot]. I’ve just got to go out there and try to play, I guess, the game I can and try to use the speed that I have.”

The Spooner power play strike was a nifty one with the shifty forward and David Backes connecting on a pass across the front of the net, and the young B’s forward showing the necessary assertiveness cutting to the net from his half-wall position.

Spooner had five shot attempts overall in the game, and was one of the few Bruins players really getting the chances they wanted against a pretty effective Montreal defensive group. Now it’s a matter of Spooner, along with linemates Backes and David Krejci, scoring during 5-on-5 play and giving the Bruins a little more offensive balance after riding Boston’s top line very hard during the regular season’s first couple of weeks. 

Sunday, Oct. 23: Hall fitting in with Devils


Sunday, Oct. 23: Hall fitting in with Devils

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while waiting to find out which Walking Dead character got brained by Lucille in last season’s cliffhanger. I’m going with Abraham.

*The SI roundtable talks about the future of Jacob Trouba, and where he’ll end up going when his current situation resolves itself.

*P.K. Subban is apparently getting very comfortable in Nashville, and enjoying life in a city with NFL football.

*Fun conversation between Yahoo’s Josh Cooper and Brad Marchand about a whole range of random topics.

*A cool father-son story where they became the goaltending tandem for the Ontario Reign through a series of dominoes falling after Jonathan Quick went down with injury for the Los Angeles Kings.

*Pro Hockey Talk has Taylor Hall serving as exactly what the New Jersey Devils have needed for the last couple of years.

*For something completely different: FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dan Shaughnessy says that the MLB playoffs couldn’t have played out any worse for the Boston Red Sox.