BOSTON — Only nine players have recorded 30 goals, 30 assists and 100-plus penalty minutes in a single season since 2004-05.
And you can add one other to the list now.
Bruins forward Milan Lucic shoveled a cross-ice pass to a waiting David Krejci who put the puck into the net to give the Bruins a two-goal lead in the second period. That assist from Lucic however put the 22-year-old winger into a different sort of group: the ultimate power forward.
After last year’s season in which Lucic would rather soon forget, he has provided a certain leadership and productivity for the Bruins. He leads the team this year in goals (30), sits just behind linemate Krejci in points, is second to Shawn Thornton in PIM and has recorded the most game winning goals on the team (7).
Add that all together and he can go down as one of the best power forwards this decade.
“’It’s a big help for me,” Krejci said. “He can put a puck in the net and he can win so many battles for me. So I’m really happy he’s on my line and he’s playing the way he is this year.”
Though injured last year, the differences in the seasons have been dramatically different for Lucic. In 50 games last season, and playing through multiple spouts of injury, the left winger managed only nine goals, 11 assists and had a minus-7 rating.
But all of that has been forgotten, and Lucic is putting up numbers similar to his last year with the Vancouver Giants, where he put up 68 points (30g, 38a) in 70 games and racked up 147 PIM.
In Thursday night’s game against the Maple Leafs, Lucic drew in the crowd, dropping the gloves with Jay Rosehill, just minutes after teammate Andrew Ference scored to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead. Lucic, who has been infamous for his toughness and his fighting capabilities in the past, has put much more emphasis on his scoring, and less on his punching.
But, given the right time and place, he still manages to get the crowd on its feet and provide spark for his team that way too.
“I mean it was a good time in the game in the second period and it kind of got us going a little bit,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said about Lucic’s fight on Thursday. “And I think there was lot of little things going on that weren’t getting taken care of and I think that kind of did the job for both teams.”
With only five regular season contests left this year, the Bruins are chugging away at trying to clinch the Northeast Division. The opportunity was there on Thursday, but despite some good efforts, they fell in a shootout.
“It’s tough obviously,” Lucic said. “We didn’t have the start that we wanted. I feel like we kind of came out flat at the start there. But we had a great second period and we had chances even in the third, in overtime, to get that fourth goal. And we even had chances to make it 4-2 but it seems like this year against this team they’ve always just been able to hang around, hang around, hang around and they get one chance in the third there and they capitalized.”