Lucic helps Bruins make it tough on Vancouver

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Lucic helps Bruins make it tough on Vancouver

By DannyPicard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; From the day general manager Peter Chiarelli came to Boston,he wanted the Bruins to be a team that was tough to play against.

Fortunately for Chiarelli, the Bruins have a player that fits that mold perfectly: Milan Lucic.And when the Bruins needed to be at their toughest, Lucic showed up with hisbest game of the series.

The big power forward finished Wednesday nights 4-0 winover the Vancouver Canucks with an assist on the fourth and final goal, and he wasa plus-two while recording four hits and a team-high five shots on goal.

His Game 4 performance doesnt stick out on the final scoresheet, but his explosiveness all over the ice was an indication that the real Lucic, who everyone in Boston knows and loves, showed up on Wednesday night.

Physicality is part of the game especially in theplayoffs, play physical and theres a lot of battles, said Bruins captainZdeno Chara after the win. So you got to make sure that you do whatever youcan to win more than lose some.

Lucic won many battles in Game 4, and not just the physicalones. The top-line winger showed off his one-on-one skill set in the openingminutes of the third period, which led to Bostons fourth goal of the night.

David Krejci chipped a pass out of Bostons zone to Lucic,who skated hard down the right wing. As Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksastepped up at the Canucks blue line and tried to put a hip check on Lucic, theBruins forward faked going wide and put the puck around Bieksa with one handon his stick, while jumping around him on the inside.

Lucic had enough speed to make Bieksa look like a turnstyle,and he came in towards the net down the right side with Peverley being chasedgoing hard to the left post. Lucic put a pass across the slot to Peverley, butRoberto Luongo poke-checked it up and off Ryan Keslers shoulder. The puck thencame down and hit Peverleys skate and went in.

I just tried to get to the net as fast as I could, saidPeverley. I didnt even really see the puck. It just hit off me and went inthe net. It was just one of those lucky goals. I was just trying to drive tothe net.

It was Peverleys second goal of the night, as he replacedthe injured Nathan Horton on the Bruins top line with Lucic and Krejci.

Lucic was on the ice for both of Peverley's goals. His presenceon Wednesday night was more than noticeable. Still, it wont be whats talked about on Thursday, mainly because Lucic isn't easy to find on Game4s final score sheet.

Peverley was wearing the player of the game jacket. Ryderhad a goal of his own. And Marchand continues to be a pest that produces, as he did with his eighth goal of the postseason on Wednesday night.

But with Lucic, his postseason hasnt been the same as his30-goal regular season. Hes been in the headlines, but mainly becausesome thought he was playing injured. Injured or not, it was clear Lucic's play hasn't been up to par.

Except for Wednesday night. He was finishing checks, winningbattles, and making skilled plays.

Well, when hes skating, hes a great player, saidPeverley after the win. I think hes a great player no matter what, but whenhes on his game, hes usually skating and hitting, and playing physical. Andhe did a great job of that tonight.

He made the Bruins tough to play against.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

B's determined to 'keep it going' during good offensive run

B's determined to 'keep it going' during good offensive run

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- The Bruins are going through a nice, little bountiful stretch of offense right now after a half-season of struggle.

The Bruins are averaging more than three goals per game in their last 12 contests, and have scored a whopping 22 goals in their last six games including dropping six scores on the Flyers Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. Combine that with the 7-for-25 performance on the power play during the month of January, and things are finally starting to catch up with a Bruins team that was all shoot/no score for months of frustrating hockey this season.

“If you want sustained success then you have to be good defensively, but you also have to score some goals. That’s definitely part of it and we have to keep it going,” said Patrice Bergeron, who has four goals and eight points in his last nine games after struggling out of the starting gate. “You’re not going to get rewarded every night like we did [against the Flyers], but you have to find that consistency where you’re close to having that every night.”

One thing nobody should expect out of the B’s, however, is to get outside of what they do well now that they’ve started slapping some numbers up on the board. Instead the Bruins are intent on their bedrock of disciplined defense and sensational goaltending with the added offense just making it much tougher to beat them these days.

“I don’t know if we can stand here and say we’re going to sustain that we’re scoring lots of goals. I think what we need to sustain here is winning more games than we lose,” said Claude Julien. “That’s what we’ve got to sustain. Whether it’s a 1-0 or 2-1 game, or it’s a 5-2 or 5-3 game it doesn’t really matter. It’s about winning hockey games much more than it’s about how much you scored, and how much you don’t score.

“Overall when I look at the scoring chances we’re giving up per game, that doesn’t seem to have changed. Goals allowed may have changed a little bit lately, but overall I think we’ve been very steady in that area [of defense].”

So now the Bruins will again be looking for that ideal balance of offense/defense when they take the ice against the Islanders on Monday afternoon for their second straight matinee at TD Garden. 

Morrow has 'confident feeling' as he readies to jump into B's lineup

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Morrow has 'confident feeling' as he readies to jump into B's lineup

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It’s been a long month of bag skates and lonely practices for Bruins defenseman Joe Morrow.

That’s about to change thanks to injuries to both Kevan Miller and Colin Miller, who are both not expected to be able to play against the New York Islanders on Monday afternoon at TD Garden. That means Morrow will be in the B’s lineup for the first time since a Dec. 12 win over the Montreal Canadiens, a span of 16 consecutive B’s games that the 24-year-old has been watching from the press box.

Morrow skated in a pairing with John-Michael Liles in Sunday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena prior to Monday’smatinee, and obviously he’s looking forward to getting back into games given this season’s sporadic practice schedule.

“[Playing well after sitting for long stretches] isn’t necessarily something you want to be good at, but if you are good at then it’s a good tool to have in your bag. It’s a confident feeling that I’ll be able to come in [and play well],” said Morrow, who has an assist and a minus-3 rating in 13 games for the Black and Gold this season. “I’ve stayed in good shape and worked hard in practice, and that’s all I can do up until this point.

“Put simply, [this year’s compacted schedule] is exhausting. Countless times I’ve skated by myself, and anybody would tell you there’s nothing harder than skating by yourself on a sheet of ice. Mentally and physically it’s just exhausting. There haven’t been many practices and there haven’t been many game-type situations in the practices we do have. Skating with the whole team is almost like a pregame skate scenario. But you’re still skating every day, so it’s putting it upon yourself to go out there and stay ready for things.”

The one issue for Morrow, a former first round pick, over the last couple of seasons has been maintaining a high level of play once he draws his way into the lineup. It feels like there’s a drop-off in his play once he’s played a few games in a row whether it’s physical mistakes or mental lapses in his play, and that’s something he wants to avoid when given an opportunity to suit up.

“I feel like when I have played this year that I’ve been quite consistent and that I’ve played well,” said Morrow, the last remaining part of the 2013 Tyler Seguin trade still in a Bruins uniform. “I’m just in a situation that the cards are playing out the way that they are, so it depends on how many games I get whether it’s one, two, 30 or however many games are left [in the season]. It’s realistically entirely up to me. If I can shake the rust out in the first couple of shifts and start from there, it’s going to be a big positive in my book. It’s the really the only option I have left now.”

Given that Colin Miller began skating on his own on Sunday morning, it might not be a very big window for Morrow to impress upon the coaches just how badly he wants to play. But one would expect he’s going to bring his best on Monday against the Isles with the hopes that it will be somebody else sitting up in the press box when it once again becomes a D-man numbers game for the 7-8 players for six lineup spots.