BOSTON — Bruins forward Milan Lucic has struggled to make an impact through the first two games of the 2014-15 season.
The first-line left winger has failed to tally a point and has been credited with just two hits and zero shots on goal in 30:24 of ice time so far.
To be fair, the 26-year-old veteran had offseason surgery on his left wrist and hasn’t yet played with longtime linemate David Krejci because the first-line center is dealing with an undisclosed injury. Lucic has skated alongside Matt Fraser and Ryan Spooner in the first two games, two young forwards he has very little chemistry with at this stage.
With that said, Lucic admitted that his recent performance isn’t what’s expected from a player of his caliber.
“When you’re in the NHL, you’re with great players no matter who you’re skating with, so you have to find a way to adapt to whoever it is. As an individual critiquing myself, I don’t think it’s acceptable the way I’ve played the first two games,” Lucic said after Saturday’s morning skate. “I’m aware of it, and I know what I need to do to get back playing my best.”
Lucic will have an opportunity to improve Saturday night against the Washington Capitals, a team Boston is 3-1-2 against since the start of the 2012-13 campaign. He’s been a productive scorer against the Caps for most of his career, and he’s tallied 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in his last 10 games versus the Metropolitan Division club since the start of the 2011-12 season.
Lucic normally starts slow and steadily improves his performance as the season progresses, and by the time the Stanley Cup playoffs come around, he’s at or near the top of his game — he’s tallied 61 points (26 goals, 35 assists) in 96 career postseason games.
But with the Bruins not being able to ice a full lineup because of injuries and having to rely on young, inexperienced players as a result, they need veterans such as Lucic to carry the load so the team doesn’t fall behind in the standings.
“Well, you can hold yourself accountable, but we want to see better play,” B’s head coach Claude Julien said Saturday morning when asked about Lucic.
“That’s what’s going to make a player accountable, not just saying it, but going out there and showing that he wants to be better.”