Bruins

Lucic: 'I can bring a lot more'

191545.jpg

Lucic: 'I can bring a lot more'

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Milan Lucic is a positive guy, but its even been a challenge for him to keep it light, airy and happy while hes struggled through a 14-game goal scoring drought thats carried on noticeably into the postseason.There have been whispers hes hurt or that he simply cant keep up with the pace of play dictated by the swift-skating Montreal Canadiens. Neither of those things appears to be the main culprit with Lucic, who has managed only five shots on net in four games against the Habs along with a minus-2.In three of the four games hes squeezed off only one shot or less in the series, and its probably got a lot more to do with simply losing one-on-one battles with Habs defenseman P.K. Subban. Lucic went through a similar rough patch to start the playoffs last season, and went scoreless in the first five games against Buffalo while also getting saddled with a minus-2 in that span. The 22-year-old power forward picked it up in Game 6 against Buffalo and was one of Bostons best players against the Flyers, and knows there is still time to get the Looch train moving.Its tough to think negatively and feel bad for myself when weve won each of the last two games, said Lucic. In the playoffs the only thing that matters is wins and losses. Im not happy with the way that Im playing. I know that I can bring a lot more. But for me I need to stop thinking negatively and think about what Ive been doing wrong, and instead focus on what I can do right. Try to bring that element to the game.Ive never a problem dealing with the pressure of the playoffs, and Ive always played well in the playoffs. Theres still time to figure it out, and bring what I can bring.Lucic charges down the left wing with regularity and Subban guards his right side defensively, and that means Lucic and Subban have been locked up for some epic puck battles throughout the first four games of their seven game series. The flamboyant Montreal defenseman carries a good offensive reputation and can do some spectacular things with the puck offensively, but hes also been a strong, underrated presence on his skates that hasnt been physically dominated by a bigger man in Lucic.Combine that with the Bs left winger playing a quiet physical game, and that leaves Lucic looking to answer a lot of questions in the final three games of the Montreal series a setting where the Bruins badly need him."This is not the time to get frustrated and be negative and to get yourself down, said Lucic. Today is fresh start and it's almost like 0-0 in the series again for me.I just want to do whatever I can to start playing like RyderBergeronMarchand, added Lucic, referencing the Bs forwards that have carried the offensive mail in the series. All my focus is to elevate my game and play the way I know that I can."It would greatly benefit the Bs to get their 30-goal scorer back after hes pulled a disappearing act over the last month. The Bruins are a gaudy 22-2 when Lucic pots a goal for the Black and Gold this season, but youll never guess who the team was when Boston found itself on the losing end of when Looch pots a goal: Montreal.That continues an odd season for Lucic against the Canadiens, and one hes hoping to end tonight while catching up to David Krejci and Nathan Horton in the goal-scoring department while the other lines have flourished in the series.Mark Recchi skipped the Bruins morning skate at TD Garden as a 43-year-old future Hall of Famer certainly always has the right to do, and theres little doubt hell be ready at the drop of the puck for Game 5.Claude Julien was careful to avoid any talk of being comfortable heading back to TD Garden with the series evened at 2-2 despite the best efforts of the Montreal media to have him step into a verbal trap.I dont know if its comfortable, said Julien. I think its more of a situation where weve got ourselves back into a series. Getting comfortable can be a dangerous word to use, especially in the playoffs. We are more confident. Winning the last two games youve built some confidence, and you hope you can carry that confidence into the game tonight.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Talking Points: DeBrusk provides energy in win

bruins_jake_debrusk_111817.jpg

Talking Points: DeBrusk provides energy in win

GOLD STAR: Jake DeBrusk gave the Bruins all kinds of energy out of the starting gate, and made a couple of plays that allowed his team to hold a lead despite getting outplayed in the opening 20 minutes. DeBrusk went hard to the net splitting a couple of San Jose defenders on the first goal, and fired a shot on net that created a rebound for Peter Cehlarik to cash in on. Then DeBrusk scored a little bit later on a rush where he beat Brent Burns in a foot race to a loose puck, then whistled a wrist shot past Aaron Dell for his fourth goal of the season. DeBrusk finished with a goal and two points along with a plus-2 and a team-high four shots on net while falling just short of 16 minutes of ice time in the victory. It was a strong effort from DeBrusk shortly after being a healthy scratch, and showed what he’s capable of when he gets his skating legs going.

BLACK EYE: Brent Burns was a complete mess for the Sharks. He was burnt by Jake DeBrusk in each of the first two Bruins goals in the first period with the B’s rookie going right at him with the attack. He also didn’t make it to the net with 12 of the 16 shots that he attempted and Burns finished with seven giveaways as well. It’s been a rough follow-up season for Burns after last year’s Norris Trophy season where he’s tried to do too much for the Sharks, and his game has suffered as a result. That seemed to be the case for Burns against the Bruins as well where his mistakes played a big role in the Sharks dropping the game.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins won the game when they managed to survive an opening 20 minutes where they were outshot 17-5, and even better they had a 2-1 lead based on some offensive fireworks from Jake DeBrusk. They were also aided by a couple of video reviews where the Bruins took a San Jose goal off the board when it was ruled that a crashing Joonas Donskoi punched a puck into the net with his glove. The Peter Cehlarik goal was also upheld at the other end after a challenge from the San Jose bench. It looked like DeBrusk was tripped before he partially crashed into Aaron Dell that set up the Cehlarik goal, and that’s clearly how the referees saw it after reviewing the play.

HONORABLE MENTION: It’s got to be Anton Khudobin, who stopped 36-of-37 shots and improved to 5-0-2 on the season with another strong win aided by a stalwart defensive effort in front of him. Khudobin now has 12 of the 20 points that the Bruins have amassed on the season, and he absolutely rewarded the B’s for opting to go with the Bruins backup for a second game in a row as they ride the hot goaltender. Khudobin was helped by a number of Bruins blocked shots in the third period when the game was still very tight, but it was also about Khudobin coming up with 16 saves in the first period when the Bruins were getting outplayed by the Sharks.

BY THE NUMBERS: 6 – the number of Bruins rookies that have scored their first NHL goals this season, including Peter Cehlarik finally getting his first NHL score Saturday night in his 14th career game.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “We need them. They’re in the lineup and they’re playing significant minutes. We need them to produce for us. Tonight we needed some offense early, and they provided it for us.” – Bruce Cassidy, on the role of the rookies in the win where it was all first-year players Peter Cehlarik, Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen doing the scoring vs. San Jose. 

Khudobin stops 36 shots to help Bruins beat Sharks, 3-1

bruins_sharks_anton_khudobin_111817.jpg

Khudobin stops 36 shots to help Bruins beat Sharks, 3-1

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Anton Khudobin enjoyed getting pestered with shots early. He didn't have time to let his mind wander.

Khudobin stopped 36 shots to lead the Boston Bruins to a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.

"I like it busy," Khudobin said. "I don't have to think about anything else. The third-period start was unbelievable . . . I don't think I faced a shot until halfway through the period."

Peter CehlarikJake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen scored to help the Bruins get their second straight win after a four-game skid (0-3-1). Boston had totaled nine goals in its previous five games, scoring more than two for just the second time in nine November games.

"It went our way," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "They were clearly better than us but we come out 2-1 (in the three games on West Coast). If you stick with it, good things happen."

Khudobin remained unbeaten in regulation (5-0-2) and improved to 4-1 with a 0.99 goals-against average in five games against the Sharks.

Timo Meier scored and Aaron Dell finished with 18 saves for the Sharks, one of the lowest scoring teams in the league. San Jose has been held to two of fewer goals in five of their seven games this month.

"Guys in this room can score; we just have to do it," Sharks Logan Couture said. "I thought we had good chances and a lot of them at the end. We've got to create offense. If you don't score goals, you're not going to win."

Meier gave the Sharks, losers of two straight following wins in six of seven, a short-lived 1-0 lead after tapping in a rebound 4:50 into the game. Daniel O'Regan, making his season debut, won the puck behind the net and skated around to take the shot that bounced to Meier. It was O'Regan's first career assist and second career point.

"I just kind of fished it out and wanted to bring it to the net," O'Regan said. "Timo made a nice finish."

Cehlarik, in his 14th game, scored his first career goal about 1 1/2 minutes later to tie it for the Bruins.

Boston took the lead on DeBrusk's goal with 9:14 left in the first. Charlie McAvoy cleared a puck in his zone that DeBrusk, one of three rookies who scored, chased down and easily beat Dell 1-on-1.

"It's massive," DeBrusk said. "We all want it so bad and we all work so hard. These are big games for us."

Heinen made it 3-1 with 5:51 left in the third. Kevan Miller skated down the ice, drawing all the attention on the right side. He passed across the crease, from where Heinen tapped it in.

"He made a heck of a play," Heinen said. "I just put my stick on the ice."

The Sharks had a goal negated for the second straight game, this one two minutes in.

"We got enough looks tonight to score," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "We're doing more good than bad we're just not being rewarded."

NOTES: O'Regan was recalled before the game. He's the leading scorer for the Barracuda of the AHL. ... The Sharks have had three consecutive goals reversed after challenges dating to Thursday's game against the Florida Panthers. ... Sharks F Joel Ward has recorded points in six of his last eight games. ... DeBrusk, who assisted on Cehlarik's goal, recorded his first multi-point game since Oct. 14, a span of 14 games.

UP NEXT

Bruins: At the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night.

Sharks: Host the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE