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Two years removed from a 30-goal season, Milan Lucic desperately needs to step up if he hopes to hang on to a top-six spot.
With just five goals and and 23 assists on the season, 'Looch' is bringing little more than his notorious edge to the rink this season. Though his physicality is not to be undervalued, his recent play has been more befitting of a grinder than an elite power-forward.
Having failed to score since March 25, the 24-year-old bruiser has a lot of work to do to justify the $18 million extension he signed last summer.
It has become increasingly clear over the past three years that Boston's first line lives and dies with Lucic. When he is shooting the puck early and often, in addition to banging bodies on the forecheck, David Krejci and Nathan Horton come alive.
While he wallows in a season-long slump, he seems to be holding his linemates back.
Perhaps replacing Horton with the ageless Jaromir Jagr could help awaken the slumbering giant on the left wing. Otherwise, Lucic seems destined for bottom-six minutes.
Lucic has proven himself as a goal scorer in the past, but his ability has come into question over the last two seasons.
Perhaps he simply needs to get angry in order to run off a serious point streak, so it would be unwise for any of the Bruins' remaining opponents to 'poke the bear.'