BOSTON Milan Lucic is a positive guy, but its even been a challenge for him to keep it light, airy and happy while hes struggled through a 14-game goal scoring drought thats carried on noticeably into the postseason.There have been whispers hes hurt or that he simply cant keep up with the pace of play dictated by the swift-skating Montreal Canadiens. Neither of those things appears to be the main culprit with Lucic, who has managed only five shots on net in four games against the Habs along with a minus-2.In three of the four games hes squeezed off only one shot or less in the series, and its probably got a lot more to do with simply losing one-on-one battles with Habs defenseman P.K. Subban. Lucic went through a similar rough patch to start the playoffs last season, and went scoreless in the first five games against Buffalo while also getting saddled with a minus-2 in that span. The 22-year-old power forward picked it up in Game 6 against Buffalo and was one of Bostons best players against the Flyers, and knows there is still time to get the Looch train moving.Its tough to think negatively and feel bad for myself when weve won each of the last two games, said Lucic. In the playoffs the only thing that matters is wins and losses. Im not happy with the way that Im playing. I know that I can bring a lot more. But for me I need to stop thinking negatively and think about what Ive been doing wrong, and instead focus on what I can do right. Try to bring that element to the game.Ive never a problem dealing with the pressure of the playoffs, and Ive always played well in the playoffs. Theres still time to figure it out, and bring what I can bring.Lucic charges down the left wing with regularity and Subban guards his right side defensively, and that means Lucic and Subban have been locked up for some epic puck battles throughout the first four games of their seven game series. The flamboyant Montreal defenseman carries a good offensive reputation and can do some spectacular things with the puck offensively, but hes also been a strong, underrated presence on his skates that hasnt been physically dominated by a bigger man in Lucic.Combine that with the Bs left winger playing a quiet physical game, and that leaves Lucic looking to answer a lot of questions in the final three games of the Montreal series a setting where the Bruins badly need him."This is not the time to get frustrated and be negative and to get yourself down, said Lucic. Today is fresh start and it's almost like 0-0 in the series again for me.I just want to do whatever I can to start playing like RyderBergeronMarchand, added Lucic, referencing the Bs forwards that have carried the offensive mail in the series. All my focus is to elevate my game and play the way I know that I can."It would greatly benefit the Bs to get their 30-goal scorer back after hes pulled a disappearing act over the last month. The Bruins are a gaudy 22-2 when Lucic pots a goal for the Black and Gold this season, but youll never guess who the team was when Boston found itself on the losing end of when Looch pots a goal: Montreal.That continues an odd season for Lucic against the Canadiens, and one hes hoping to end tonight while catching up to David Krejci and Nathan Horton in the goal-scoring department while the other lines have flourished in the series.Mark Recchi skipped the Bruins morning skate at TD Garden as a 43-year-old future Hall of Famer certainly always has the right to do, and theres little doubt hell be ready at the drop of the puck for Game 5.Claude Julien was careful to avoid any talk of being comfortable heading back to TD Garden with the series evened at 2-2 despite the best efforts of the Montreal media to have him step into a verbal trap.I dont know if its comfortable, said Julien. I think its more of a situation where weve got ourselves back into a series. Getting comfortable can be a dangerous word to use, especially in the playoffs. We are more confident. Winning the last two games youve built some confidence, and you hope you can carry that confidence into the game tonight.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at email@example.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs