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Bruins, Lucic Fight For First Place

by Angela Stefano / Boston Bruins
Boston Bruins left wing Milan Lucic, top, throws a punch while fighting Montreal Canadiens defenseman Mike Komisarek during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Boston, MA - All 60-minutes of last night’s earthshaking 6-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens -- the B’s first victory in 12 regular-season games -- were pretty eventful. With six goals, 27 saves for Manny Fernandez and a very loud crowd, there was plenty for the Hub of Hockey to enjoy, but the sparks really started to fly in the third period, courtesy of Milan Lucic.

“We could have made excuses after coming in late last night, but we felt like we had a good jump to our step,” said Lucic.  

The Bruins looked better than they had against the regular-season Habs in a long time.

Clearly a 3:00 a.m. landing time, after a 2-1 shootout win in Chicago, did not dull the clubs determination. However, the B’s had a bit of a different attitude this time around.

“We were more calm and cool, not as overexcited as in the past when we played these guys,” said Luch, later adding that the Bruins “getting on a roll previous to this game really helped us with our confidence coming into tonight.”

Some first-round playoff wins against Montreal last season certainly helped, as well.

“It gave us a little bit of a confidence knowing we could beat these guys,” he said.  “(Twelve games) is a huge number.”

Then, a strong start early in Thursday’s game gave the Bruins a big push towards their win.

“(Stephane Yelle, Shawn Thornton and Chuck Kobasew) did a great job to start it off and get some momentum going for us in the first,” said Lucic of the B’s fourth line.

Lucic contributed to keeping the momentum up in the last minutes of the game, when the team might have begun to feel some fatigue. With 15:18 remaining in the final period, the Bruins left wing took the puck from a face off at the left face off circle by the Canadiens goal, turned around, and simply slipped the puck past an unsuspecting Carey Price.

The big B’s forward then added insult to injury – or maybe it was the other way around –when he took on Canadiens defenseman Michael Komisarek in a fight that was over a year in the making.

“We’ve had our battles in the past,” said Lucic. “It was just a matter of time until something like that happened,”.

After getting in a few good, hard punches, Lucic got Komisarek to the ice first. As the linesman pulled the two apart, the Black & Gold’s boxer channeled his inner wrestler when he headed for the penalty box to serve five minutes.

Lucic screamed and implored the crowd to cheer the whole way to the box, still restrained by a referee, and slammed on the glass to salute the fans before he took a seat.

Boston Bruins goalie Manny Fernandez, left, is congratulated by teammate Milan Lucic after their 6-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens in an NHL hockey game in Boston, Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008.(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
“All I saw was both guys dropping their gloves,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien.  “To me, it was part of the game, part of the package.

“Besides other things he did extremely well, he just did his job.”

It was Lucic’s first fight of the year.

“He handled it well and showed he can still do that,” added Julien.

It’s debatable if the crowd, or the Bruins, even needed that extra push of energy, but they enjoyed it in any case.

“It was just a high-intensity, rivalry, divisional game,” said Lucic.  “We were able to focus on what we needed to do, and that’s what helped us with the win.”

The game was also important in determining division standings.  With the win, the Bruins are now officially in first place in the Northeast Division – no longer tied with the Buffalo Sabres.

“We knew the importance coming into tonight,” Lucic said. “It was a battle for first place.”
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