Milan Lucic has turned again the clock with the Calgary Flames
The facility ahead had been struggling in recent times, however the 2020 post-season has seen a rebirth for the veteran. Do not look now, however Lucic is a point-per-gamer for Calgary.Milan Lucic (No. 17)|Perry Nelson-USA TODAY SportsAdmit it: you thought Milan Lucic was executed. The once-intimidating energy ahead had been a non-factor for a lot of the season for the Calgary Flames and solely arrived on the town through commerce from Edmonton in a uncommon intra-Alberta swap for James Neal, by which each groups had been making an attempt to salvage one thing from unhealthy contracts that had been signed.
So after all Lucic has a degree in all 5 video games Calgary has performed this summer time, together with tonight within the Flames’ opening-series win in opposition to the Dallas Stars. Not solely that, however the winger was taking all of the faceoffs on his line with Sam Bennett and Dillon Dube – and Lucic was actually good, successful 69 % of his attracts.
“He’s been good there,” mentioned interim coach Geoff Ward. “He’s obtained power and he does an terrible lot of issues together with his energy. He’s been good within the circle so we’ve determined to maintain rolling with him there. And he likes it, he likes taking attracts.”
Naturally Lucic was not alone on his line. Dube popped within the first two objectives of the sport for Calgary, the second on a stunning shoulder-dipping rush to the Dallas internet, whereas Bennett continues to impress together with his gritty, two-way play. The effectiveness of the trio has led Ward to start out loads of video games and intervals with them.
“They’ve executed a very good job getting pucks within the offensive zone and going to work,” he mentioned. “And that basically units up our guys within the first rotation of our traces. For them, they’ve proven an actual means to verify we get the draw and get it deep. That’s an necessary factor for us early in a hockey recreation – attempt to set up some zone time, attempt to get some early pictures on internet. They usually’re heavy guys. They’re onerous to play in opposition to as a result of they play heavy. Dillon has nice pace, so he can complement the heaviness of the opposite two.”
Whereas Dube is a younger participant nonetheless on the rise and Bennett appears to have discovered himself a second act within the NHL as a extra grinding, bodily man, it’s really superb to see Lucic’s early turnaround on this post-season. With 20 factors within the common season, he wasn’t actually a lot of an element for the Flames and the facility ahead had been trending downwards for years – maybe not stunning given the standard shelf life of larger, bodily gamers in in the present day’s NHL.
However now? He’s nonetheless bodily, he’s nonetheless intimidating (onerous to see many Stars desirous to struggle him on this sequence; Jamie Oleksiak and possibly Jamie Benn being the candidates) and now he’s placing up offensive numbers on an excellent third line.
“He’s been buzzing, he’s flying on the market,” Dube mentioned. “Every part he does is intense and with pace. It makes it very easy for Benny and I to play the best way we do when he’s direct on it. He’s a giant presence on the market and when he’s on, he controls the sport rather a lot.”
That is undoubtedly excellent news for the Flames, because the franchise doesn’t have a lot Stanley Cup expertise. Lucic received a championship again in 2011 with the Boston Bruins and that ring is the one one within the Calgary dressing room proper now.
With top-liners akin to Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk all getting their factors too, the Flames are getting a really balanced assault thus far. That spelled hassle for Winnipeg and it could be an excessive amount of for the Dallas Stars to deal with as properly. And if Lucic continues to show again the clock, the Western Convention higher be on excessive alert.
Tags: calgary flames, dallas stars, stanley cup playoffsConnect: In regards to the AuthorRyan KennedyRyan Kennedy is the affiliate senior author and draft/prospect professional at The Hockey Information. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all referred to as his home. He lives in Toronto together with his spouse and youngsters the place he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.