Lucic On Hockey Show: ‘Keep It Tight, Make Smart Plays’ Against Capitals
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BOSTON (CBS) – It has been four days since the Boston Bruins regular season ended, giving them plenty of time to prepare for their first round series against the Washington Captitals.
It all gets started Thursday night at the TD Garden, so Bruins forward Milan Lucic joined Damon Amendolara, Bob Beers and Dave Goucher on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s The Hockey Show Wednesday night to break it all down.
The B’s have been practicing hard this week, touching on things they weren’t able to do during the regular season. They’ve also been studying up on the Capitals, who with Alexander Ovechikin, Nick Backstrom and Alexander Semin have a pretty powerful offense for a seventh-seed.
Read: Bruins-Capitals Schedule
But Lucic said the Caps’ offense isn’t all the B’s have to worry about, as they have some pretty solid guys doing the dirty work to set up their scorers.
“You touch up on their top guys and top forwards, but they also have some guys that ground it out as well. You can’t overlook how Brooks Laich plays on both sides on the puck and is willing to pay that gritty-type of role. You also have guys that can step up and play hard, the in your face type of game as well, like Jay Beagle, Matt Hendricks and Joel Ward… those are guys that play that physical type of game and try to get in the crease, in the goalies face,” said Lucic.
“Even their defense core, they have guys that like to move up the puck and get up in the play. That’s what we talked about; we can’t turn over the puck especially in the neutral zone,” said the B’s winger. “We have to keep it tight and make smart plays. Guys like Backstrom and Ovechkin, if you’re turning the puck over and giving them chances, they’ll make you pay.”
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Lucic scored a career-high 30 goals last season, but said he did not like the way he was playing heading into the postseason. That carried over into the Bruins’ early series, as he had just two goals and three assists over the first two rounds. This year is much different for #17. What is the big difference heading into the playoffs this season from last season?
“I just kind of got into a groove to end the year. I thought the biggest thing in my game that improved from last season is my skating. I feel like I’ve found an extra gear and more speed in my game and have been more explosive. I think that’s made my game a lot better,” said Lucic. “I think I’ve been able to keep a consistency in my game this year as well; not getting too high and not getting too low. Last year was great. I scored 30 goals with 10 games left in the season but I don’t know why everything turned for the worse after I hit that mark. This year I learned from that, staying focused and on an even keel and, most of all, having funl.”
Listen: Bergeron Ready For Tough Series
“My game is where I wanted to be. I’m hoping I can get things off on a right foot with a big effort (in Game 1). We ended the season kind of getting our game back and moving in the right direction. Obviously having a tough opponent like the Washington Capitals — playing against some of the best players in the world and league like Ovechkin and Backstrom — makes it more exciting for the first round. I think we have a great opportunity to have just as long a run and we all believe that in the dressing room.”
What did the Bruins learn from last year’s championship run? What are Lucic’s three keys to beating the Caps? Listen to the interview in its entirety for that and much more with Milan Lucic!