Through five playoff games this season, Boston forward Milan Lucic
has a line of 0-1-1. But that lone assist came on Nathan Horton
's game winning goal in double overtime in Game 5.
|Boston Bruins' Milan Lucic leaves the ice after team practice at TD Garden in Boston Monday, April 25, 2011. The Bruins prepared for Game 6 of their NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday in Montreal. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) |
Today, before Game 6, Claude Julien was asked about his big left wing and his progress throughout the postseason.
"Well obviously it was a lot better last game and the encouraging part is I still l think that line has even more to give," said the Bruins head coach. "I thought [the line of Lucic, David Krejci
and Horton] played a decent game last game and they were much better than they had been early in the series.
"And Milan, as much as Horton who scores the OT winner, and Krejci are very good players for us. And I thought Milan himself was a player who took a little bit more space on the ice than he had in the first part of the series
"I think his confidence right now is much better than it was two games ago," he said.
Lucic sounded the part after Bruins morning skate.
"Well the same way, we don’t want to change our preparation, it’s worked for us the last three games," said Lucic of the Bruins attitude going into Game 6. "Obviously, right now I think everyone is excited for this opportunity that we have here in Game 6.
"We want to do whatever we can. Just come out there and play our game and focus on what we do best.
"And if we just focus on those things the result usually tends to take care of itself," he said.
After contributing mightily to the B's 2-1 win in Game 5, Krejci said he and his linemates enter Game 6 on a high.
"We’ve had so many chances a game, but the one thing that was missing was a goal," said Krejci of Horton's series changing tally on Saturday.
"It was a big goal for our line and hopefully we can build some confidence off it and just keep creating chances.
"But now we have some confidence to score some goals," he said.
Fellow forward Rich Peverley
said that having all four lines clicking is key.
"I think that we have four lines that can score," said Peverley. "I think if we can have all four lines going at once and create that offense it gives us the best opportunity to win the game."
That's particularly so in an elimination game.
"The elimination game is always the hardest one," explained Peverley. "I think [tonight's Game 6] is going to be no different.
"We really want to get that lead coming into tonight, this series. But it’s no different."
Lucic, for one, sees a bit of difference going into this elimination game as both teams have some history under their belts.
"Well you don’t want to take anything for granted," said Lucic. "If you have a chance to close a team out, it’s never too early to. Obviously, we went through a lot last year...in that Philadelphia series.
"But also, Montreal went through a lot coming back in the Washington series and the Pittsburgh series. They have a lot of fight in them so we have to be prepared for that and again, it’s whoever goes out there and executes their game the best will go out on top."
Julien thinks Lucic can put his stamp on tonight's match-up, but also feels his entire team is prepared for Game 6.
"A guy like Lucic is a big element for us on the ice, and he must continue to find ways to impose himself," said Julien to the French-speaking press.
"Our team is playing better now than it did at the start of this series. Our goalie [Tim Thomas
] was very good in the last game and he said the best was yet to come, and not only did he say it, but he backed it up," added Julien in English. "That’s one element. Our team is playing rather well, but we also know that we can play a lot better.
"Our approach to tonight’s game isn’t any different from the way both teams have approached the games so far.
"If we lose tonight, it’s not over for us. On the other hand, we are coming to the end of this series. We want to end it as much as they want to survive," he said.
But Lucic thinks this edition of the Bruins might just fare better than previous teams.
"Yeah, I think so more so than the group from the past," said Lucic in reference to the experience present in this postseason's Bruins locker room.
"And I think that’s what gives our team confidence and hopefully we can bring that tonight."