Milan Lucic’s Hat Trick Finally Gives Winger Chance to Celebrate on Home Ice

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Milan Lucic's Hat Trick Finally Gives Winger Chance to Celebrate on Home Ice BOSTON — Last season, Milan Lucic came within a minute of not scoring a single goal on home ice during the regular season.

As it was, he never scored on an opposing goalie at the Garden, with his lone tally an empty-netter at 19:00 of the third in the final game in Boston against Carolina.

Things hadn't improved much this season in front of the home folks. Oh, Lucic was off to a fine start with seven goals and 14 points in 16 games, but all seven scores had come in eight road games. He still hadn't celebrated a goal of his own at the Garden.

That all changed at 15:37 of the first period on Thursday, as Lucic scored the only goal Boston would need against Florida. But it was far from the only goal he would get. He added another at 14:42 of the third, then completed his second career hat trick just 15 seconds later to key a 4-0 victory over the Panthers.

"It's real special," said Lucic of getting the hat trick on home ice. "It's been a while since I scored a regular-season goal at home, on a goalie, other than that empty-netter I had last year. It's always great to score in front of the fans here because they've been so great to us and it definitely makes it easier to play."

Lucic has made it look easy this year, largely because he's kept his approach to the game simple.

"He's skating, he's hitting, finishing his checks, and also he's playing a, what I call, a north-south game," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "When he's got the puck he's going straight forward with it and he's creating some room for his teammates, and when he's got an opportunity to take his shot he's taking it. … He's pretty confident and since the beginning of the year he's been as consistent as we've ever seen him."

With 10 goals on the year through 17 games, Lucic has already exceeded the nine goals he scored in 50 games in an injury-plagued 2009-10 campaign. He's also halfway to his preseason goal of scoring 20 goals for the first time in the NHL, but despite the gaudy pace he's on, he's not looking to change the milestone he's set for himself.

"Halfway to my goal," said Lucic. "No, I'm just taking it one at a time, keep doing that, keep shooting and getting myself in scoring positions and creating scoring chances and hopefully I can get there sooner than later."

The goals came sooner than they've ever come in his life on Thursday night. The public address announcer hadn't even announced his name for scoring his second goal when he completed the hat trick just 15 seconds later.

"For sure, I don't even remember in minor hockey getting two in 15 seconds," said Lucic.

"That was definitely nice to get two quickly like that," added Lucic. "[The Panthers] were kind of hanging around and we didn't do enough before that to put them away. They were kind of lingering around and had their chances too, so it was nice to get that second one to put them on their heels a bit and then the third one kind of buried them."

Lucic's third tally led to a shower of hats raining down on the Garden ice. But there was one more special fedora awaiting him when he reached his locker after the game.

"This is a hat we found in Brad Marchand's stall a week ago and I came in here after my interview on the bench and it was sitting in my stall," said Lucic, indicating the stylish lid he had donned after the game. "I have the honor and pleasure of wearing it here tonight after a hat trick. Everyone signed it too, even the trainers, so it's special."

Almost as special as finally scoring a goal — or three — in front of the home folks.

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