Boston, MA -- Thursday's 3-2 loss to Ottawa was tough to swallow for the Black & Gold and their fans in the Hub of Hockey, particularly as it marked the third straight one-goal loss to the Eastern Conference leading Senators this season. However, a late goal by rookie winger Milan Lucic made the bad medicine go down just a little easier.
With just 1:16 left in the game, Boston's Peter Schaefer had the puck deep in the Bruins zone and slid it out to defenseman Dennis Wideman who then carried it the length of the ice. The puck found it's way back to Schaefer, who again steered it towards the goal and Wideman, who finally left it for Lucic.
Following the breakout play, Lucic simply found himself in the right place at the right time.
“You never know, right? Teams come back all the time," said Lucic of his attitude going into the waning minutes of the third. "I know it has happened during my WHL career. We have been down 4-1 with three minutes to go in the game and we have come back to win the game.
"I don’t think you can ever quit.”
By not quitting, Lucic's goal gave the B's a fighting chance to earn a point, but the powerful Senators held fast.
“(Ottawa's) a team you really don’t want to get behind,” Lucic said. “We had a really good first period, and then in the second, we kind of let it get away from us."
The loss even more frustrating because the Bruins were hoping to gain a little ground in the conference standings.
“Ottawa is first for a reason,” Lucic continued. “You can’t give them much, or they are going to make you pay for it on the scoreboard. It seemed like they were out there forever during that four-minute power play, and they just kept stabbing at the puck and it finally went in.
“But I feel like we were right there with them in the first period, and if we just keep pushing like we did in the first, then we will continue to be right there with them...We knew we could gain some ground if we won this game. Unfortunately though, the result didn’t go our way. But we still have five more games against them, so there are still lots of points in the division that are up for grabs.”
Despite the tough luck versus Ottawa, Lucic’s play bodes well for Boston. The young power forward has started to see more ice time as the season progresses, and has been getting more comfortable with his teammates -- especially linemates, Phil Kessel and Peter Schaefer.
“I think the three of us work well down low,” he said. “So far, our line has put a bunch of goals together (but) we just have to keep working.
"We can’t get frustrated (because) I think it is only going to get better from here.”
His good play has been getting praises from seasoned Bruins veterans as well.
“Lucic got us back in the game so we would have a chance to tie it up tonight,” said P.J. Axelsson. “He has been doing very well for being the young kid that he is.”
One other important person, in particular, is not surprised about young Lucic's success.
"I’ve said it since the beginning of the year," explained the Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "I saw him this summer at the development camp.
"From the blue line in, coming into (those tough) areas where he scored tonight, he was very good."
And it's obvious that Coach Julien expects Lucic to continue to contribute.
"He gave us a chance to maybe at least get ourselves a point," he said. "It’s just part of what we’ve seen within the last couple of weeks as he’s got the opportunity to play (more)
"He has taken advantage of the ice time that he’s been given.
"Not only is he a good physical presence...he’ll go hard in the corners he’ll go hard to the net," he said.
Lucic and the Bruins return to practice tomorrow, before playing Pittsburgh on Thursday.