Local boy Lucic stars in 3-1 win over Canucks

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Local boy Lucic stars in 3-1 win over Canucks

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

VANCOUVER The prodigal son returned, and he showed his fellow Vancouverites just how good hes become.David Krejci created the goal by driving to the net and carrying a Vancouver defender with him, and Milan Lucic fought off an uncalled interference on Sami Salo to the get to the front of the net and pound home the reboundof a Dennis Seidenberg shotfor his 27th goal of the season.That score gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead late in the third period, and gave Vancouver native Lucic the NHL hometown moment he's dreamed about his entire life. An empty-net goal by Patrice Bergeron, assisted by Lucic, gave the Bruins a 3-1 win over the Canucks in a playoff-atmosphere at Rogers Arena, and capped off whats been an unforgettable homecoming in Vancouver for one of its favored sons."That's almosta perfect ending to a perfect couple of days in Vancouver for myself. From start to finish it's been a hell of an experience," said a beaming Lucic. "It was great to see the whole team battle all night, and get the win."How many times had Lucic imagined in his East Vancouver backyard that he'd someday put away a game-winning goal in an NHL game at his home rink?"Thousands and thousands and thousands," said Lucic. "You remember playing hockey in your backyard here, and scoring big goals. Those type of things. Being able to play and get a big game-winner in front of your friends, family and a lot of Bruins fans that were in the crowd tonight is a great feeling definitely."Lucic held his hands upward for a mini-celebration after the score, and once again showed exactly why hes got the reputation as a big game player during his time with the Bruins. Lucic finished with a goal and assists in the 3-1 win, and hoots, hollers and shouts of celebration could be heard in the B's dressing from the entire Lucic family celebrating in an adjacent room.
The Canucks got the better of the first period, outshooting the Bruins and taking a narrow lead on a Manny Malhotra goal while an army of Vancouver forwards crashed the front of the net.In a game that had a playoff feel to it, that was a postseason kind of a goal to be sure.
The Bruins stormed back with a strong second period that culminated in Nathan Hortons fourth point in the last four games. Tomas Kaberle started the play off and earned his first point in the Bs uniform with a long shot off the back boards that Milan Lucic corralled into a follow shot. Horton twice fought off Mason Raymond in front of the net for rebounds, and the second one beat a butterfly-found Roberto Luongo.

Patrice Bergeron added the empty-netter for the Bruins with little more than a minute remaining to ice a big "measuring stick"victory for the Black and Gold. Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

BOSTON – The Bruins didn’t show anything on the ice in Monday afternoon’s 4-0 matinee loss, and that’s not really any kind of an overstatement.

The scoring chances were almost nonexistent despite 32 shots on net, the second period was dreadful as the Bruins gave up three goals over the course of a six minute span and there was zero added urgency in the third period once the B’s fell behind. The emotion was missing from the drop of the puck to open the game and it never showed up once the Islanders began taking control of the game.

It was a bitterly disappointing result after the Black and Gold had played so well in their previous five games, and put in strong, winning efforts against the Panthers, Blues and Flyers.

On Monday afternoon, the passes were sloppy and errant all over the ice, there was zero physicality and the Bruins buckled once the Isles turned the intensity up just a little bit in the second period. The game was basically over once Nikolay Kulemin snapped one home wide open from the slot area with Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid and David Krejci all blowing their defensive assignments, and then Tuukka Rask followed it up by allowing a softie to Josh Bailey from a bad angle close to net.  

So Bruins head coach Claude Julien termed it a “flat” performance once it was all over with, and openly wondered whether it was fatigue-related result linked to the compacted schedule Boston has played through this season. Monday marked the seventh straight day that the Bruins held some kind of formal skate, though most of the veteran B's players stayed off the ice during last week's Wednesday off-day practice in Nashville.   

“We were flat tonight, obviously, flat from the get-go. I think that first half of the game, we didn’t give much until they scored that first goal. We were able to stay in, but we certainly weren’t generating much ourselves, from that point of view,” said Claude Julien. “His is really the first year, for me as well, going through a condensed schedule, and I’m certainly not using that as an excuse, is it fatigue?. . . But we were flat tonight. How do you explain it? I don’t know. I know that it’s frustrating. I know that it’s disappointing. That’s all I can say.

“Whether it’s mental fatigue, whatever it is. We made some mistakes tonight like, from the goals you look at, we weren’t even in the position that we’re normally in. So we were totally out of whack, as far as even defending. When you give that first goal that much room in the middle of the ice, your D’s go on the wrong side, your weak-side forward is way on the other side, and you open up the slot area, that’s something I haven’t seen much of this year. I think it said a lot from our game tonight.”

The compacted schedule certainly could be a factor for a Bruins team that’s played more games than anybody else in the Eastern Conference to this point, but the B’s also had 48 hours to recharge after winning a Saturday matinee over the Flyers. So the fatigue excuse seems a little far-fetched for a hockey club that’s no-showed a few too many times this season, and did it again on Monday afternoon against one of the worst teams in the NHL. 

Off day for Tuukka Rask plays into rough loss for the Bruins

Off day for Tuukka Rask plays into rough loss for the Bruins

BOSTON – Many times this season Tuukka Rask has bailed out the Bruins when the team was at less than their best.

Monday afternoon was not one of those times as the Bruins goaltender was knocked out of the game after two periods on the way to a listless 4-0 shutout loss to the New York Islanders. Rask allowed three goals on 15 shots in the game’s opening 40 minutes, and was responsible for a very soft goal during the Isles’ three-score barrage in the second period.

After the game Rask wasn’t ducking responsibility for the subpar performance, and admitted he was simply beaten to the short side post on a bad angle shot from Islanders forward Josh Bailey for the soft-serve special.

“I was just late. I picked the wrong seal. It’s one of those [goals] that I should have stopped,” said Rask. “Claude [Julien] mentioned [not taking the Isles lightly] before the game, and the last game we played here they got us. It was a bit of a flat game again last time, and we just woke up too late today. We didn’t want to underestimate them. Any team in this league is good even though the standings might show otherwise. We just never got it going.”

Rask was being kind because the Bruins never actually woke up at all in the first B's shutout loss to the Islanders on home ice in franchise history, and that includes when the Finnish netminder was yanked after the second intermission.

Julien’s act of pulling Rask from a 3-0 game was clearly designed to spark the struggling hockey club, but it did nothing to breathe life into a dead hockey club that simply allowed another goal playing out the string in the third period.

“There are two things that can happen. No. 1, you hope you can spark your team because of the performance in front of him,” said Julien. “If it doesn’t spark your team, [at least] you’re not wasting your number one goaltender’s energy.”

One would expect that Rask will be back between the pipes on Wednesday night against the Red Wings in Detroit, and in hindsight perhaps this Monday matinee might have been a good time to see what Zane McIntyre has to offer as the backup. Instead it will go down as an “off” game for Rask and another inexcusable no-show on home ice for the Black and Gold.