BOSTON – While the KIL (Krejci, Iginla and Lucic) Line only finished with one greater shot on net in Game 2 than they did in Game 1, it was a vastly different experience for Boston’s top line. Rather than getting frustrated and resorting to things like spearing a rookie defenseman in the family jewels, Milan Lucic accounted for a big goal and Jarome Iginla assisted on two of Boston’s four scores in a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 2 at TD Garden.
Claude Julien had mildly called out the top line by saying after the fact that the third line had outplayed them in Game 1, and the Bruins coach was 100 percent correct in his assessment. The B’s bench boss was more than willing to give credit where it was due after they flexed their muscles, and produced in Game 2.
“I think they had the sense that they had to get going, and they needed to produce and be a positive influence in this game. They went right back at it and they scored a big goal for us,” said Julien. “They’ve been a good line for us all year, and the biggest challenge for those guys is they’re going to be checked on a little bit tighter in the playoffs.
“They’ve got to battle through those situations and continue to be a real productive line for us. I thought tonight was better. Obviously the first game, they had a tough game, but I thought they bounced back well in this afternoon’s game.”
Clearly it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the line going up against Detroit’s top shutdown pair of Niklas Kronwall and Brendan Smith. Krejci has been beaten up a bit physically in the first two games, and has gone scoreless those two playoff contests despite his big game reputation.
But Iginla and Lucic teamed up for a giant momentum-altering goal at the end of the second period where Detroit had outshot Boston by a 13-6 margin, and closed to within a 2-1 score. With less than two minutes left in the middle stanza, Torey Krug fed a long pass up to Lucic, who moved into the offensive zone and dropped back a pass to a rushing Iginla. Rather than muddle through the motions Lucic moved hard to the net, and was ready to fire when Iginla finished off the give-and-go with a perfectly placed pass.
Jimmy Howard got a piece of Lucic’s shot just as he did in the third period of Game 1, but this time the bounce went against him as the puck trickled into the back of the net for Boston. The score gave the Bruins their insurance goal in a gut-punching manner, and signaled to Detroit that Boston’s most dangerous forward line was gathering steam.
“The good thing is, we were able to respond before the period was done. Especially when it felt like we were penalty-killing all period. It was a great play by Kruger [Torey Krug] to me to show some patience, and another great pass by Iggy [Jarome Iginla] to me,” said Lucic. “I had a lot of net to shoot at and thankfully it went in this time and didn’t take a hard left out. It was a good effort by all.”
It was a good effort by all, but it was good production by Lucic and Iginla on Sunday afternoon. That’s what the Bruins need from their big offensive guns in this dangerous first round series against the Red Wings.