WASHINGTON DC – While the losing result in overtime was a downer, the continued upward trajectory of Milan Lucic’s play continues to be a positive for the Boston Bruins. Lucic took another step forward in Saturday night’s 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center, and potted his second goal in 12 games played during the month of April.
Lucic had his fourth multi-point game of the season after also notching an assist on Andrew Ference’s second period strike, had four shots on net and finished with a pair of registered hits in a good mix of snarl and skill. The goal was a crafty one on an offensive zone face-off play that Lucic and linemate David Krejci have tried dozens of times: this time Krejci won the draw with Mike Ribeiro and Lucic had a clear shooting lane at the net. The Bruins left wing fired a puck that bounced off Karl Alzner’s stick and skidded on past Braden Holtby.
“We’ve done that quite a bit. I’d say 85 percent of the time it doesn’t work, but when it does work it feels pretty good,” said Lucic. “It’s a good play. It was a great face-off win and I got rewarded with a nice bounce.”
It was enough to satisfy his coach after Claude Julien had previously said on Thursday that he wasn’t looking for Lucic to go “from zero to 60 [mph] in one night” after one promising performance.
“What is this, his third or fourth game? He was a really good player for us tonight,” said Julien. “He was probably one of our better guys up front. It was nice to see him find his game, and I’m looking forward to seeing that continue.”
Lucic was a plus-3 in 16:28 of ice time, and, more importantly, has a regained confidence in creative passing plays from the wall to kick-start the transition game. Couple the smart, simple passing plays with the hustling skating game that Lucic featured on Saturday, and it appears the B’s power forward is all the way back with his game.
“I felt really good today with the puck and I felt like I made a lot of good plays. I also felt like I was really moving my feet,” said Lucic. “It’s been the main thing I’ve focused on the last few games. I want to keep building and building, so my game is where it needs to be next week.”
If Lucic has another game on Sunday like he did in Saturday’s defeat, then he’ll be well on his way toward the proper beginning with the Stanley Cup playoffs around the corner.