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Lucic: "2014's Done -Turn That Page and Start Fresh in 2015"

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BOSTON - Milan Lucic walked up to his stall in the Bruins' locker room at TD Garden on New Year's Eve following a 4-3 shootout loss to Toronto.

The winger had just finished his postgame workout, still huffing and puffing, with sweat drenched on his face.

"Well, it wasn't," Lucic began, before graciously cutting off a reporter attempting to ask the first question of his media session.

"I'll start off," he gestured towards the reporters with a smile.

"It wasn't a good 2014," he asserted. "I'm happy it's over. Looking forward to 2015."

"So hopefully we can turn things around. Not much good has happened in 2014 for myself and for the team and just looking forward to 2105 and turning things around, and hopefully it will be better than this year."

The Bruins end the 2014 part of the 2014-15 season with a 19-15-4 record through 28 games.

Before dropping the final game of 2014 to the Leafs in the fifth round of the shootout, the Bruins dominated in overtime and a third period that saw them allow just two shots from Toronto. They outshot the Leafs 9-2 in the third and 4-0 in the extra frame.

But they had fallen down 1-0 by the end of the first period, and 3-1 by the 9:45 mark of the second.

"Well, you saw - I mean, the last 30 minutes there, once we got it going and we started playing with an edge, and we started playing together, we make it 3-3 and I thought in the third period, we went out there to play to win," said Lucic. "We had definitely more of the chances and we tried to finish it in overtime as well, and it's just a matter of bearing down."

"It seems like that's been the story all season long, especially myself I had a couple chances there in the third and that one in overtime. Just a matter of bearing down."

The Bruins came out right away in the first period with energy and picking up a 4-0 shots advantage but that quickly changed after the first five minutes. It took them 10:57 to land their next shot.

They killed a cross-checking penalty to Dougie Hamilton, but nine seconds after Hamilton left the box, Leo Komarov converted off their hard forecheck and a Bruins' defensive breakdown.

"You hope that you can get that goal that gives you that win, especially in regulation, but at the same time we always have to look at our start, which wasn't very good," said Head Coach Claude Julien.

Carl Soderberg tied it up 1-1 just 17 seconds into the second on the power play, tapping in a Reilly Smith shot that broke through Jonathan Bernier. But Toronto responded just 31 seconds later when James van Riemsdyk got a step on Patrice Bergeron off the rush and put home a perfect feed from Phil Kessel.

Kessel followed up with a goal of his own on the power play at 9:45 into the second.

The Bruins were stuck in their own zone for most of the first and second, not able to generate the sustained pressure and offense that powered them to a 5-2 win over Detroit two nights before.

"They made it 2-1, 3-1 and then we were just puck watching and waiting for that fourth goal to come," said Tuukka Rask, who stopped 18 of 21 shots in the loss. "Thank goodness we didn't and we get a bounce and a goal and it's a game again."

David Krejci started the comeback at 15:28 into the second, when he threw a puck on net with Lucic crashing that bounced off Toronto defenseman Cody Franson and in behind Bernier to make it a one-goal game.

Just over two minutes later, Torey Krug walked down the left side and fed a puck through the crease with Krejci driving the net. The puck went off Roman Polak's stick, Korbinian Holzer's skate, Komarov's skate and across the goal line to make it 3-3.

"Good bounceback, good battle, but wasn't nearly as good as the game before," said Rask. "They get two shots in the third period and overtime so that's a good sign. But just not enough."

"Dug ourselves a hole and fortunately we were able to get out of it and get ourselves back to being tied after two," said Julien. "This was an important game and probably would have liked to see our team play better throughout the whole 60 minutes."

The Bruins have to take their effort against Detroit and in the final 30 minutes into Saturday's game against Ottawa.

"After a while, the players realized that we weren’t doing the things that I think we had done the game before; coming back and going back as a group and making sure we were a little bit aggressive and having some layers," said Julien. "A little bit more of a commitment throughout the whole team. Once we started trusting each other, I thought the game got better."

"Obviously there were lulls in our game to start, but I thought we came back hard and we played to win and we pushed to win," said Lucic. "And if we play like we did against Detroit and like we did when we were pushing to win, I think things will start hopefully bounces will start going in for us."

That's the only way for the Bruins to push forward and continue fighting to get back into a playoff spot. They need to find a way to get a more consistent effort.

"The remedy is just about doing it, executing, and doing it for the whole game," Patrice Bergeron said. "I think we're definitely not happy with the fact that we're not creating or establishing some consistency to our game, from one game to another, or during games."

"Every game is pretty much a must-win now," said Rask. "We're playing teams who are a couple points ahead of us and if we keep winning a game, losing a couple it's not going to take us anywhere. We need to get some wins together and get it in the shape we want it to be and enough has been said. It's time to show it, really."

So, as the focus shifts to 2015, the Bruins are hoping it holds more promise for them than 2014.

"It has to happen. It has to happen if we want to get ourselves back in the picture and it has to happen if we want to be where we want to be at the end of the year and it's up to us to make it happen," said Lucic. "No one's going to do it for us. You know, no one feels sorry for us, and we shouldn't be feeling sorry for ourselves, so it's up to us to bear down and start putting a winning streak together."

"Like I said, 2014's done. Turn that page and start fresh in 2015."

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