The forward set up two goals and provided the physical presence the Bruins needed from him — and the presence he needs from himself in order to be effective. Lucic was skating, hitting and creating space for his teammates en route to a breakout game that couldn't have come at a better time for the Bruins as they closed out their series with the Sabres.
Now, as the B's prepare for what promises to be a war with the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round of the playoffs, they'll need more of the same from Lucic, who is looking forward to this series, despite whatever bumps and bruises he may incur.
"That's what makes it so fun," Lucic said of the physical games with Philadelphia. "They've held that identity of the Broad Street Bullies for the last 40 years, and it seems like every team that they've had the last 40 years, that's been their identity. I've got to say, it's fun to play against. It's not easy. It hurts after every game, every time you play them. But it's definitely a lot of fun. You find ways to put a smile on your face after playing a team like that."
With forward Shawn Thornton looking like the odd man out as Marc Savard returns to action, the onus may now be on the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Lucic to be the main man when it comes to preventing pests like Daniel Carcillo from taking liberties.
Lucic realizes he needs to be that player all the time, regardless of who is in or out of the lineup.
"My role hasn't changed [with Thornton out] because I always need to be that physical presence to have success and contribute to the game and the team," Lucic said. "I have to play physical, and I have to play hard and crash the net."
One player who has made a Hall of Fame career from crashing the net is veteran forward Mark Recchi, who knows how effective Lucic can be when he gets physical.
"He's important all the time," Recchi said. "It was good to see him play a good Game 6, and he's strong — he can win some battles and play physical. That's his game, and everything else falls into place if he does those things well. He understands it, and he needs to continue to get that consistency that we need from him. He will because he?s a good kid and I expect him to be very effective for us."
Veteran forward Steve Begin, along with Recchi, has spent some time this season as Lucic's linemate, but he has also learned how effective Lucic can be from playing against him as a Montreal Canadien.
"It's fun to see when he has that going, and we?re going to need more of that Lucic and the guy I played against for the last few years," Begin said with a smile. "We are going to need him, and we saw how, when he had that physical game against Buffalo, that's when he is at his best."