Lucic: 'I can bring a lot more'

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Lucic: 'I can bring a lot more'

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

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 jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Talking Points from the Bruins OT winner

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Talking Points from the Bruins OT winner

GOLD STAR: Solid night’s work from Ryan Spooner, who finished with the OT game-winning strike and was solid throughout the game as the de facto No. 1 center. He had four shots on net, six generated shot attempts and won 12-of-19 face offs as he continues to improve in that area while training camp rolls along. Spooner is trying to hold onto the No. 3 center spot in the lineup despite the addition of David Backes via free agency, and Friday night’s big boy performance with speed, playmaking and skill showed exactly what his potential can be when he puts it all together. It was also a nice little bounce-back from an up-and-down game on Wednesday night against the same Detroit team when he struggled in the face off circle and was part of a team-wide malaise.

BLACK EYE: It wasn’t necessarily a bad night for Brian Ferlin, but it was more of the invisible variety with just a registered hit and one face-off taken in 13 minutes of ice time. The forward earned some NHL time with the Bruins a couple of years, has battled concussion woes over the last year plus and is trying to push his way back into the crowded forward picture during this training camp. While he certainly showed some toughness and skill around the net a couple of years and didn’t seem shy about going there on Friday night, the results just weren’t there and Ferlin didn’t have much of a presence in the game. In general it was a pretty decent performance for the Bruins, so Ferlin’s game was quiet more than problematic.

TURNING POINT: Credit the Bruins coaching staff for switching up the lines in the third period, and that sparked the offense a bit after zero goals through the first 40 minutes against Detroit. Zach Senyshyn was moved with Danton Heinen and Riley Nash, and they became a threat in the third period before Heinen broke through for the game-tying goal from his knees. That score allowed the B’s to push things into overtime, and then Spooner made it a quick extra session by snapping home a shot from the slot after a good effort from Joe Morrow down low. It all was made possible by the adjustment to the lines that took place between the second and the third periods.

HONORABLE MENTION: Joe Morrow is battling to hold onto his NHL roster spot with the Bruins, and that is absolutely underscored by the news that Christian Ehrhoff is being brought to Boston on a PTO. So it was expected that the young D-man would come out with something a little extra after a mediocre performance in his preseason debut, and the left shot D-man was an impact player in the win for the Black and Gold. Morrow dropped the gloves with young tough guy Givani Smith in the second period as part of a B’s group that played with a little bit of an edge on Friday night, and then he won a battle down low in overtime to set up the Ryan Spooner game-winner. Morrow had two hits, two shot attempts, the assist and the fight in 19:48 of ice time, and showed that he’s ready to battle in camp to hold onto his spot.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 – the number of goals in two preseason games thus far for Danton Heinen, who scored important game-tying goals in both instances in the shootout loss to the Blue Jackets and Friday night’s overtime win against the Wings.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “The compete level, especially when he got down 4-0 [on Wednesday night], I don’t think it was high enough. So we talked about it, and we expect a better effort for sure.” –Ryan Spooner on Friday morning prior to going out and snatching the win away from the Red Wings in Detroit with an OT game-winner. 

Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

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Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

The Bruins will add another veteran defenseman to their training camp group fresh off the World Cup of Hockey as German D-man Christian Ehrhoff is headed to Boston on a PTO (professional tryout agreement). CSN has confirmed that Ehrhoff has indeed agreed to a PTO with the Bruins, and he'll report to the team sometime this weekend.

The 34-year-old Ehrhoff had three assists in six World Cup games for Team Europe, and had two goals and 10 points in 48 games for the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks last season while clearly starting to slow down a bit. He’s clearly no longer the player that averaged 14 goals and 47 points for the Vancouver Canucks from 2009-2011, and is another left-shot defenseman to add to a team that already has Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.

But it behooved the Bruins to bring in at least one “name” veteran D-man on a tryout basis during this training camp with so many needs for upgrades on the back end, and with a host of young players that might not be ready for prime time. This might also be a warning sign for young veteran Joe Morrow, a left shot D-man that has struggled a bit in training camp after coming off an erratic first full season at the NHL level.

Clearly the Bruins need more than Ehrhoff, however, even if he’s somehow re-energized with the Bruins after playing pretty well in the World Cup. The Kings were down enough on his game to put him through waivers last season, but he was a top-4 defenseman for the previous eight seasons for San Jose, Vancouver, Buffalo and Pittsburgh prior to getting bounced around between the Kings and Blackhawks last season.

The added bonus with taking a look at Ehrhoff is that there’s no risk associated with a PTO, and the Bruins can simply walk away with no cost if the B’s coaching staff decides he’s not a good fit for the group in Boston. On the other hand, bringing in a Kris Russell-type would cost a great deal in terms of money and term in a free agent contract, and it might not benefit the Black and Gold club in the end result.