The black bear, which is capable of hibernating for up to 100 days, wakes from its slumber in the spring refreshed, rejuvenated, and hungry. Left winger Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins seems to be doing the exact opposite of this. For the second straight year, it seems as if Lucic is going to pull a disappearing act in the postseason that would make even the greatest of magicians green with envy.
Last season during Boston’s Stanley Cup championship run, Lucic registered just five goals and seven assists for an anemic 12 points in 25 games. This was after scoring 30 goals in 79 regular season games. Although it is still early in the 2012 NHL playoffs, Lucic seems to be repeating his play from last postseason.
In the three postseason games this year, Lucic has yet to register a point while averaging almost 21 minutes of ice time per game. Lucic has looked tired as of late, playing just 16:57 minutes in Boston’s 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals on Monday. The 16:57 was the least amount of ice time he’s seen during the playoffs. Lucic looks sluggish when skating and is struggling to keep up with his teammates. It’s as if someone has played a late April Fool’s joke on him and filled his skates with cement. Lucic’s skating isn’t the only thing that seems to have faltered. His passes are off, landing just ahead or just behind their intended targets.
For the first three games, the lack of Lucic’s offense hadn’t affected Boston too much thanks to some stellar goaltending by Tim Thomas and solid team defense. However in Game 4, with the Bruins trailing 2-1 with about four minutes left in the game, Lucic sent a pass into David Krejci’s skates that would’ve sent him streaking in on Washington’s netminder Braden Holtby. On the same shift Krejci sent a pass to Lucic, who was wide open, but it looked like Lucic took his eyes off the puck and had it bounce over his stick. As he was skating off, Lucic banged his stick on the ice in frustration.
Adding to Lucic’s awful night, with just 1:27 remaining in the game he received a pass from Zdeno Chara and skated into Washington’s zone. He tried to make a pass to Tyler Seguin who was skating up the right side, but telegraphed his pass and had Washington forward Mike Knuble steal it and send it out of the zone. If the Bruins want to beat the Washington Capitals and get out of the first round of the playoffs so they can attempt to become the second team in the last 20 years to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, they’re going to need to Lucic to contribute offensively and they’re going to need him contribute immediately.