Milan Lucic Misses Morning Skate, Expected to Play in Game 2 As Bruins Winger Looks to Regain Scoring Touch in Playoffs

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Milan Lucic Misses Morning Skate, Expected to Play in Game 2 As Bruins Winger Looks to Regain Scoring Touch in Playoffs BOSTON — There were just two skaters missing from the Bruins' morning skate on Tuesday as the club prepared for Game 2 of its Eastern Conference final against Tampa Bay at the Garden.

Mark Recchi's absence was no surprise. The future hall of famer has used his veteran's prerogative to skip the skate throughout the postseason, preferring to save his energy for the game that night.

But the other player missing the morning workout did raise some concerns. Milan Lucic did not skate, and his absence came a day after taking a puck off his right foot on a Tyler Seguin one-timer during power-play drills in Monday's practice. Lucic stayed on the ice to finish practice, and Seguin didn't seem too concerned after that workout.

"He said, 'I can't believe you one-timed that,'" Seguin said after Monday's practice. "I hit the top of his skate, so it's really that much off the ice [indicating the shot was just a few inches high]. I apologized and he was laughing. Luckily it was Looch, or else we'd be kind of worried, but he's a big, tough guy."

After Tuesday's skate, Bruins coach Claude Julien allayed any fears caused by Lucic's absence by stating "there's no issues there at all."

So Lucic's body should be healthy and good to go on Tuesday night. His game hasn't been in such good shape of late though.

Usually an outstanding playoff performer who has raised his game when the stakes get highest throughout his career, Lucic has struggled most of this postseason after a career year in the regular season when he led the Bruins with 30 goals. He went without a goal in the first 10 games of the playoffs, a stretch that came on the heels of a 10-game drought to end the regular season.

"I guess it's one of those things that he's got to work his way through those kinds of things," Julien said. "And when you're this far into the playoffs, you got to push these guys and you got to encourage these guys. You got to find ways to get them going. And there's nobody right now more than those players putting pressure on themselves."

Lucic appeared to break out of his slump with a pair of goals in the series-clincher against Philadelphia, but was quiet again in Game 1 against the Lightning. Quiet in the scoring column anyway, Lucic's frustrations did get the best of him in the final minute of that 5-2 loss when he picked up a roughing minor and a 10-minute misconduct for decking Tampa defenseman Victor Hedman in a scrum.

Lucic didn't face any supplemental discipline for that incident and is expected to be in his usual spot on the Bruins' top line alongside David Krejci and Nathan Horton, who also received 12 minutes in penalties for slugging Dominic Moore in that same scrum, in Tuesday's Game 2.

The Bruins need Lucic to maintain that edge and be a physical presence, but they also need him to stay on the ice and start putting up points again. Julien insisted the effort has been there through the first 12 games of the playoffs, but the Bruins need to see some production too, especially with Patrice Bergeron currently sidelined.

"Just because he doesn't play well, doesn’t mean he doesn't care," Julien said. "If there's anything, I think to a man in that dressing room, everybody cares, everybody wants to do well. It's a matter of finding their games and then pushing themselves. And confidence is a big part of this game, we all know that. Sometimes when things go well you get lots of confidence, and sometimes when it doesn't go as well as you would like to, you're struggling with that part of it. And us as coaches, you kind of are trying to help these guys through and push them through it and hopefully get them to find their A game."

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