Boston, MA --
With eight hits on Saturday night, the impact of second year forward Milan Lucic
’s checks were felt by more than just the Buffalo Sabres and transcended the boundaries of the big rink on Causeway Street.
Each one of the 17,565 fans that watched the Bruins latest opus in a sold out TD Banknorth Garden felt the force of the B’s power forward.
There’s no doubt that Lucic’s game set the tone for the Black & Gold, who, led by the sophomore skater, pounded their way to a 3-1 victory -- and a share of first place in the Northeast Division.
“That’s what we like to see him bring every night,” said Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien. “Any time you get a good forecheck going like you see him do on many occasions you know he is going to finish his checks.
“A lot of the time that creates turnovers.”
Defenseman Aaron Ward marveled at Lucic’s ability to create space.
“Some nights I wish I had that youthful energy,” said Ward. “At 35 I look at him in admiration.
“You see what happens, (his physical play) creates a lasting impression on a few defensemen out there, and the beginning of the second period we called Milan Lucic
Moses, (he) parted the seas and the defenseman went for the front of the net and he just took the puck behind the net.
“Good for him if he’s creating a reputation for himself and guys think twice about going to get the puck. (It gives) more time for his linemates,” he said.
Needless to say, Lucic’s linemates are thrilled.
“If I could stay tight to him, there’s a 99.9 percent chance that I’m going to get the puck when it goes in their zone,” said Marc Savard
, one of three Bruins goal scorers on Saturday. “The thing is for me I’ve never been a dump-it guy, it’s almost forcing me to almost lay it in there because he’s going to get it.
“The one I tried to hit him wide tonight, they had two (defensemen) that could’ve had that puck before he did. He just swooped in and got it and I got a scoring chance off it.
“He’s just going to go get it and get it back to me so it changes my game. I haven’t been much like that and I think it’s going to work out well.”
The Sabres talked about the Bruins ability to change the momentum of the game with their hard working, hard checking game plan.
“I think in the second period that they felt they we were taking to them pretty good for a good period of time and I think they just made it a point of finishing every check,” said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff. “I think that almost every player (on the Bruins) seemed like they wanted to go through people.”
Buffalo’s Craig Rivet was a little more specific.
“He’s a big man, but that’s his game,” said Rivet of Lucic. “He wants to big, he wants to be physical, and he’s a hard guy to play against.
That sentiment would make Lucic smile.
“We want to make this building a hard and tough building to play in,” said Lucic. “We play here 41 times a year, so it’s up to us how hard we are going to make it on other teams.”