Lucic, Krejci weren't on top of their game

May, 22, 2011
5/22/11
4:35
PM ET
BOSTON -- Milan Lucic, who was not available for questions following Saturday’s loss to the Lightning, spoke with reporters Sunday at TD Garden.

Game 4 was a tough one for the Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton top line as the troika was held to two shots in more than 54 minutes of combined ice time.

The reason for the power outage?

“I don’t know,” Lucic said. “I wish I had an answer for you. We’ve had some great games and we’ve had some not so great games.”

In addition to the top line’s inability to scratch the scoresheet on Saturday, which included another 0-for-2 performance on the power play, there also was Krejci’s trouble in the faceoff circle. Krejci won only three of his 12 draws.

“We all know we can get better,” said Krejci, who was a minus-3. “I don’t want to get too much into it, but I know, my line included, that we weren’t on top of our game.”

Coach Claude Julien knows there will be more opportunities to come, the question is whether the top unit can become a factor come Game 5 on Monday night.

“I’m sure those three guys want to be held at that standard, that they’re a great line and they can be difference-makers every night,” he said. “I thought they played a great game in Game 3. They gave us the early lead and they were solid throughout it all.

“They’ve been a great line for us all year. There’s no doubt that in the playoffs sometimes there’s a little more at stake, so when you’re looking at that line a little bit closer than you normally would and the fine details and expectations that are looked upon a little closer. We expect them to be a great line for us and so do they. Whether that happens is another thing.”

My bad: Lucic was looking past Saturday’s performance, but he took time to break down the crucial neutral zone turnover that led to Simon Gagne’s game-winner in the third period.

“I saw two guys open in the neutral zone, but I didn’t see [Lightning winger Ryan] Malone,” Lucic said. “Obviously, it was costly and, again, it was almost like I was trying too hard to make up for my mistake. If I would’ve just stopped in front, in my position, we wouldn’t have had a two-on-one in front of the net.”

He added, “Mistakes happen and games are won and lost by little mistakes like that.”

Again, the message was all about redemption.

“Whatever’s done is done,” Lucic said. “We have bigger things to worry about going into Game 5.”

Scott Barboza

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
Scott Barboza joined ESPNBoston.com as a high schools editor/reporter in May 2010. He spent the previous three seasons working in the New England Patriots media relations department after a stint at the Taunton Daily Gazette, where he covered everything from Little League baseball to the Boston Red Sox.

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