Thursday, April 21, 2011
Krejci, Julien voice support for Lucic
By James Murphy
MONTREAL -- Bruins forward Milan Lucic has struggled as of late, with no goals and no points in the first three games of this Eastern Quarterfinals series with the Canadiens, which Montreal leads 2-1. Counting the regular season, Lucic is going through his longest dry spell of the season after hitting the 30-goal plateau on March 22. The rugged winger has now gone 13 games without lighting the lamp and has seven assists during that span. He is also a minus 2 in the first three playoff games after finishing the season at a plus 28.
Lucic wasn’t available after the Bruins game-day skate Thursday in advance of Game 4 at the Bell Centre, but his linemate David Krejci was, and the Czech center said he sees no reason to worry about Lucic's scoring slump.
“No. It’s not about goals. Yeah he’s a goal scorer and he hasn’t scored in the first three games, so other guys step up like they did last game,” Krejci said of Lucic, who has been a great playoff performer the last two seasons with eight goals and 18 points in 23 playoff games. “But he’s playing well. He’s creating so many chances and he got chances himself too. If one guy isn’t scoring goals, it doesn’t mean he isn’t playing well. He’s doing the big things but he’s not scoring goals, and until then he will get help from his teammates.”
Head coach Claude Julien was happy to hear his players supporting one another and seemed confident that the goals will come for Lucic.
“Players support each other and so do we as coaches, and Luch has been a good player for us all year and he’s going to continue to be a good player for us,” Julien said. “There’s a lot of good things he’s doing. Is there a possibility for him to do a little bit more? I think he scored 30 goals this year and you hope that at some point in this series he scores more. But even if he doesn’t, if he’s playing hard and he’s playing his game, you can’t criticize him for that. I think from what I saw last game, he was a better player than in the first two so it kind of coincides with what I talked about with our team. We’ve gotten a little better here as the games move on but we still want to get a little bit better.”