BOSTON, MA --
With 3:32 left in the third period, Nashville's Mike Fisher drove a dagger into the hearts of Boston fans enjoying a well-played pre-Valentine's day matinee when the Predators forward beat Tim Thomas
with a go-ahead goal.
Undaunted, Milan Lucic
showed tons of heart, stuck with the gameplan and with Thomas pulled for an extra attacker, the big power forward drove to the net and was in the perfect spot to capitalize on a nice bounce of the boards to tie the game 3-3 with just over a minute remaining in regulation.
"I think the whole team – we have a lot of pride," said Lucic. "We don’t like losing, even if it’s 1-0 nevermind 6-0.
"You never want to get down on yourself and start feeling sorry for ourselves and I think that’s when the pride kicks in. it’s up to different guys at different times to step up and play big at key moments."
But none were bigger in regulation than Lucic's marker to send the game into overtime and set up Thomas, Tyler Seguin
and Patrice Bergeron
However, Lucic also pointed to the B's energy line's work to put the Bruins ahead early in the final stanza.
"Look at the Campbell line there, they’ve been playing so well for so long and they just haven’t been getting the results and they finally step up and score a big goal for us," said Lucic. "I talked about it yesterday, someone asked me you just can’t depend on one line going and getting all the goals, you have to get it by committee.
"I think we had all 20 guys definitely going here tonight."
Lucic, in particular, seemed to be the driving force throughout the evening. The left wing put seven shots on goal in his 15:21.
"We had to work for 59 minutes to tie it up there to send it into overtime," said Lucic. "But we played well and obviously it’s great that we were able to get that win and hopefully we can play the same way here come Tuesday."
Asked about Lucic's hard work, Bergeron said, "When he plays like that he’s obviously tough to defend, he’s so big, and when there’s a team that plays on man-on-man like that it’s tough for that defender to stay on him, he’s so strong.
"I think he made some great plays to get it to the net and just drive and use his speed and his body. He had a great game."
With the goal, Lucic became the NHL's first man with 20 goals and 100 penalty minutes.
"As you mature in this league and you become, I guess, more of a wily veteran, you understand that all of those parts of your game are important, that you combine them, and he’s a guy that has to be a physical player, has to play the game hard, and because of that, he does end up with penalties," said Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien.
"At the same time, he’s a guy that has been scoring some goals with us in the last few years – I think 30 or so last year, and this year, again, he’s on the same pace.
"So he’s [got] to produce without taking away the element of his game, which is forecheck and hitting, and the way he forechecked tonight gave us that tying goal that got us back in the game."
Lucic explained that he's worked hard to maintain that level of physicality and offensive production.
"Definitely when you have a season like I did last year, you kind of set a bar for yourself and you want to keep that consistency in your game," said Lucic. "I’m still young so you want to try to get better every year, so it’s been great I’ve been able to get to that 20-goal mark two straight years.
"There’s 29 games left and hopefully I can get to the 30 mark again."
And as far as the Bruins being able to hit their marks, Lucic said the solution remains in the mirror.
"We just have to kind of worry about ourselves more than anything," said Lucic. "We can’t always rely on the other teams to get us going and if they’re not reacting to us, we can’t get frustrated.
"We got to find it within ourselves and within each other to create that fire within us to play on that edge.
"I said it’s up to us," he said.