April 21, 2011
There were 29 players in the NHL this season who scored at least 30 goals. Seventeen of them have played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Four of them have yet to score a goal: Steven Stamkos(notes), Ryan Kesler(notes), Jonathan Toews(notes) and Milan Lucic(notes).
Three of those players have something else in common (with the acknowledgement that Kesler has seen a ton of ice time in a defensive role against Toews and Patrick Kane(notes)): They're trailing in their respective series, and in the case of Stamkos and Toews are facing elimination. Which brings us to Lucic.
He's gone 13 games overall without a goal, in a series against the Montreal Canadiens in which goals are at a premium. The Bruins have a spark of life heading into tonight's Game 4, despite their 2-1 deficit; but Days of Y'Orr feels it's time for Lucic to be heard from on the goal-scoring sheet:
Milan Lucic also needs to wake up. He looks slow and out of place all the time. Even when he has the scoring chances (like the wide open chance in Game 3 where if he lifted the puck over Price, it was a goal) he's whiffed. It's an ugly sight for sure and I know it's beginning to irk Bruins fans. The guy is a 30 goal scorer and has had 2 quality scoring chances off the top of my head. Montreal isn't giving Looch the space he needs and he can't handle it. He doesn't create his own opportunities anymore or maybe he never did to begin with.
Is Coach Claude Julien worried about Lucic's goal-scoring? Via ESPN Boston, his answer:
"Players support each other and so do we as coaches, and Luch has been a good player for us all year and he's going to continue to be a good player for us," Julien said.
"There's a lot of good things he's doing. Is there a possibility for him to do a little bit more? I think he scored 30 goals this year and you hope that at some point in this series he scores more. But even if he doesn't, if he's playing hard and he's playing his game, you can't criticize him for that. I think from what I saw last game, he was a better player than in the first two so it kind of coincides with what I talked about with our team."
You hate to be cliché about it, but this series really does come down to who scores the first goal. If it's Montreal, it's a chance to dictate terms to the Bruins as they did in Games 1 and 2. If it's the Bruins, then it's another boost of confidence like in Game 3, and the chance for Tim Thomas(notes) to play with a lead.