November 23, 2011

Lucic, B's worried about first place, not fisticuffs

On an otherwise mundane Wednesday night in Buffalo, the Sabres and Bruins will take to the ice at First Niagara Center with many expecting the two to engage in a full-fledged bloodbath.

B’s winger Milan Lucic is projected to be a recipient of some early retribution in tonight’s tilt after taking out Sabres goalie Ryan Miller in a well-documented collision the last time these two teams clashed.

“Obviously they addressed that they weren’t happy with how they responded and they were talking about that for a couple days,” Lucic said, as the forward took little-to-no flak from Buffalo after running over their netminder in the first period. “I said what I said and my answer is not going to change, especially with the hit. My main focus was the puck and the collision ensued. Unfortunately Miller got hurt on the play.”

Coach Claude Julien alluded to the NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan contacting the respective GMs about keeping things calm this evening, but regardless of whether any phone call was placed or not, the Bruins bench boss is solely focused on just doing his job.

“I haven’t spoken to the league,” Julien said. “If they spoke to someone, it was our GMs. I don’t really have anything to do with that. I’m here to coach the game. It’s as simple as that.”

Lucic won’t exactly be floored if the Sabres come at him right off the hop, but he believes the fact that first place in the Northeast Divison is on the line should have a big bearing on how things pan out.

“Well it’s definitely going to be a hard-fought gam,” Lucic said. “I think we can talk about whatever happened the last game, but I think there’s more at stake than just getting revenge. It shows in the standings and that’s what we’re focused on more than anything, just keeping the streaking rolling and secure first place in the division.”

Still, the widespread anticipation for tonight’s tilt across the hockey universe makes the visit to upstate New York all the more exciting.

“I think it’s what makes it fun. I know it’s a Wednesday night in November in Buffalo, but it’s a big game,” Lucic said. “Like I said before, there’s a lot at stake with getting first place in the division. The fans in Buffalo are going to be excited. We’ve been looking forward to this game as much as they have. It’s what makes this game fun. We’re excited for that challenge because we know they’re going to bring their best.”