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Thursday, March 14, 2013
Looking for more from Lucic, Horton

By Joe McDonald

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins need more from forwards Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton.

The team’s top-line wingers haven’t scored of late, and that has to change in order for the Bruins to remain successful in the second half of the season. Lucic has not scored since Feb. 24 at Florida. Horton’s last goal came on Feb. 28 against Ottawa, and he’s had just one assist since then, too.

Overall this season, Lucic has four goals and 10 assists for 14 points, while Horton has posted seven goals and five assists for 12 points.

Bruins coach Claude Julien wants to see a more forceful forecheck from the pair of wingers.

“I think they need to go back to their north/south game,” Julien said. “I don’t think there’s a single team in the league that likes to see Lucic forechecking, or going after a loose puck. Same thing with Nathan Horton. When he’s on his game and he’s committed to it, he’s another real physical player that can forecheck and put other teams on their heels.

"Those guys are better served when they play that way, and what that eventually does is back guys off, and when they back guys off then they’re capable of making plays like they had been just inside the blue line. But right now there doesn’t seem to be the intention of putting pucks in areas where those guys can use it to their advantage. They’re forcing plays a little too much in the neutral zone, which ends up being turnovers and not utilizing their strengths to their advantage.”

During his six-year career with the Bruins, Lucic has had a tendency to fall into a goal-scoring drought, and this season is no different. His current skid is nine games without a goal. His past scoreless skids per season are eight games (2011-2012), 12 games (2010-2011), 10 games (2009-2010), 15 games (2008-2009) and 20 games during his rookie season in 2007-2008.