Forward Milan Lucic
, who’s line has been shuffled this week due to David Krejci
’s concussion, spoke about the restored passion and drive of the Big Bad B’s heading into the tough stretch of games ahead.
“You want to establish yourself as being a good team and good teams don’t lose two, three games in a row ... The most important thing for us right now is we want to get ourselves back on a winning track. That’s our whole mind focus right now, is to get back to making good, strong, hard plays,” Lucic said after practice on Tuesday.
While the team is set to take on long-time rival Montreal on Thursday, the Bruins must first go head-to-head with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday. Tensions remain high with the Pens, as everyone in the Hub of Hockey still remembers the hit that Matt Cooke delivered to Marc Savard
“I mean, it’s always going to be there, for sure," said Lucic. "You know, [Savard] is going to be at home watching it closely and...he’s going to want us to win that game more than anything.
“We’re not going to go out of our way to get someone back, but definitely, like I said it’s a physical game. You’ve got to go out there and establish forechecks and make big hits. We’re just focused on establishing a physical presence out there and try and go in there and get two points.”
But no matter how passionate about the upcoming games they might be, Lucic admitted that the B’s have to keep their emotions in check.
“You know, that game after Savvy got injured, we lost 3-0 to Pittsburgh because we let the emotions get the best of us," he said. "When we do that, we start making mistakes and we start playing stupid, so I think we’ve got to do whatever we can to control our emotions and pick our spots.
“Obviously, you want to do whatever you can to stick up for your teammate, but also, you’ve got to focus on the task at hand," explained the 6’3”, 228-pound power forward. "We have a chance to move up here in the standings and take first in the division, so I think that’s the most important thing for us right now and that’s what we’re focusing on."
But the intensity is sure to make the game better for everyone.
“It makes for fun hockey as a player," said Lucic. "Obviously, the emotions are going to be high and the juices are going to be flowing, but you’ve got to go out there and have fun with it and be excited for the challenge coming up.”
The fourth-year pro, a native of Vancouver, British Columbia, is sure his team is through its recent rough patch and will find a way to succeed without it’s first-line center.
“These are bumps on the road that you have to face throughout the season that hopefully you can recover from and it’s going to make your team stronger.”
So how are the Bruins planning on tackling the tough road ahead? Just the same way they always have.
“We’ve got to play our style of hockey, just go up and down, good shifts, and establish a hard forecheck. If we try and be cute and try and stick handle through three guys, that’s not our game,” Lucic said.
Specifically with the Penguins, Lucic thinks the Bruins need to focus on their rebounding.
“You’ve got to do whatever you can to create scoring opportunities and try to do whatever you can to get pucks on net and wear the goalie down," he said. "It doesn’t usually come from first shots. It comes from guys going to the net, and sticking around the net, and banging away at rebounds.
“If we keep things simple and bare down on our chances, we’re giving ourselves a chance to win every time.” ---Ashley Robbins