BOSTON – As odd as it might sound, right now they are the Batman and Robin of the Bruins.
And if Milan Lucic and David Krejci can’t come through for Boston in its most dire time of need, there’s no chance for the Bruins to triumph over evil.
The signal went up and Boston’s dynamic duo appeared to save the day tonight. Both players recorded a goal in the Bruins’ 5-2 victory, which forced Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final Wednesday in Vancouver.
Held without a point in Boston’s Game 5 loss Friday to the Canucks – with Lucic held without a shot on net – the two linemates huddled up prior to Game 6 at TD Garden and rallied each other for a huge performance.
“Well, we talked about our last game and how it wasn’t good enough, and you know, I had zero shots and I think Krejci might have had one [two] shot,” said Lucic after the dramatic victory. “You know, as a line, we need to create more and we have to want to create more and I think that’s big, right there.
“It’s not, you have to go do it, it’s what you need to do, you have to want to do it, and when we have that mindset I think that’s when we’re able to come out and play like we did.”
Krejci and Lucic combined for just three shots, but they also threw seven hits. Their third linemate Rich Peverley, who continued to fill in for the injured Nathan Horton, recorded two shots and an assist.
It was the type of performance every team needs to get from its top line with the season on the line. In the aftermath of Boston’s 1-0 loss in Game 5, head coach Claude Julien actually took to making excuses for Lucic and Krejci’s struggles. He talked about how top lines in the Cup Final are tightly checked, so teams have to rely on secondary options. Maybe he was throwing down the gauntlet for Lucic and Krejci to rise to the occasion. Or maybe he really believed that.
Nonetheless, Lucic and Krejci flew out of the gates to help Boston build a 4-0 lead in the game’s first 9:45. First Lucic beat goaltender Roberto Luongo with a shot through the 5-hole for a 2-0 lead. And then Krejci lifted the Bruins’ usually putrid power play with a backdoor goal off a feed from Mark Recchi 6:59 into the third to give the Bruins a 5-1 lead.
“I think we had the jump today. We were putting pucks deep and Looch created body [contact]. I tried to use him a lot today,” said Krejci, who now has 12 goals in the postseason. “I was putting the puck in his corner and he’s just going through it. He doesn’t care, he wants the Cup. You could see it in every battle. He won every battle. So we have to play the same way in Vancouver just like we did today.”
Of course, scoring in the unfriendly confines of Rogers Arena has proved difficult. The Bruins have been shut out twice there and in this series and Krejci (one assist) and Lucic (one goal) have combined for just two points in three games.
Lucic thinks he knows how to turn that around.
“I think we need to relax. I think the last three games there, we played sort of tense, we weren’t making the same plays that we were here at home, and if we’re able to relax and just focus on our game plan it will be a success,” he said.
More than any other Bruins player, Lucic – a Vancouver native – knows how badly the Canucks wants their first Stanley Cup championship in 40 years of existence. But as he pointed out, Boston has waited almost as long for a title.
If he and Krejci can duplicate their Game 6 in Game 7, the Bruins should be in prime position to make history and ruin the Canucks’ planned party. It’s one last task for the Bruins’ dynamic duo.