BOSTON, MA –
As Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic
sat in front of his stall to untie his skates after the Bruins 4-3 shootout victory over the Buffalo Sabres, he struggled to conceal the ear-to-ear smile on his face.
With the victory in Game 82, the Bruins can now turn their focus towards the playoffs.
“We’re going to enjoy tonight and what we accomplished for the season and we know, because we’ve been through it, we got to take everything one game at a time,” Lucic said. “There’s no better time to play hockey than this time of year. As you can tell by my smile, I’m excited for it.
“I think everyone in this dressing room should be proud of what we accomplished in the season.”
After falling behind 3-1, the Bruins used goals from Tyler Seguin
and Brad Marchand
to tie the game, and Patrice Bergeron
scored the game-winner in the shootout.
“Well, we had to get ramped up after they got a two-goal lead on us,” Lucic said. “We talked about finishing off strong and ending off on a win here, so it was almost a blessing in disguise when you play a team that has nothing to lose. They go out there and play hard, and we have to go out there and play hard as well.
“It was definitely a good test for us, and a good ending to the [regular] season.”
Overall, it’s been a rather up-and-down season for the Bruins. After a rough start in October, the Bruins went 12-0-1 in November and 9-3 in December.
However, after the dominant two-month stretch the team struggled in January and February, but eventually got back on track in the final month of the season.
“There was a bit of a worry I guess when we couldn’t even put two wins together,” Lucic said. “We were winning one, losing one; winning one, losing two, winning one. So, you know the fact that we were able to kind of regroup and get things going in is definitely more of a confident feeling and we’re looking forward to the challenge that’s coming up ahead.”
There’s a lot to like about the 2011-12 Boston Bruins, but for Lucic it’s the definitive identity the team established throughout the season.
“I think we’ve established an identity and we played to it for most of the season and those are the kinds of things you try to accomplish throughout the year,” Lucic said. “Like I said, it’s finding an identity and we played for most of the season the way we wanted to play.
“You know, it just goes to show when we play as a team, a group of 20 and a group of five on the ice, that’s when we have the most success. So, that’s what we need to focus on more than anything heading into the playoffs.”