For Milan Lucic, it’s the small steps forward that are a sign that things are getting better.

On a line with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson, the Bruins power forward charged the net and was rewarded with a pass from Eriksson that gave him a chance to put the puck into a vacated net for just his fourth goal of the season. Lucic had all the time in the world to think about how many missed chances he’s had to score this season. Instead, he put it in for arguably the easiest non-empty goal he’s ever scored.

“I saw that he saw me and I knew he’€™s capable of making the play,” Lucic said of Eriksson. “It was just a great play by Loui, heads up play to see me there all by myself in front of the net and for myself you saw it was a little bit of delayed I just wanted to make sure I put that one in the back of the net.”

Lucic scored just his fourth goal of the season in Boston’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Penguins Monday night at TD Garden.

“I think, all in all, we played a pretty good game,” Lucic said. “We didn’€™t spend too much time in our own zone and we were able to create a bunch of scoring chances. I think what got a better is we were attacking with a lot more speed off the rush and we were strong on the pucks and driving to the front of the net and trying to create chances that way. For myself just on that goal, just driving the net, stopping in front, and a great play by Carl and Loui to get me the puck there for that first goal.”

He was also in front of the net when Eriksson put a puck on net with both Lucic and Soderberg charging the crease. The puck went in off Soderberg but the goal was disallowed when the referee ruled on replay that Soderberg shoved it in with his glove.

“I thought it was a good goal,” Lucic said. “I mean none of us made contact with the goalie. None of us ‘€“ there was no batting motion with the hands, but it’€™s one of those things you can’€™t control. We all thought it was a good goal and looking at it now it probably could’€™ve been the difference in the game. Again, referees have to go by their best judgments and it’€™s unfortunate that we didn’€™t get the call there.”

With just four goals and seven assists in 23 games, Lucic knows his production is not close to what the Bruins need going forward this season, especially on a team that is struggling with injuries and scoring depth.

“Well I think there’€™s pressure on all of us, especially when things aren’€™t going in you start to feel I guess that pressure a little bit, but I mean I think the main thing is you try not to think about it too much and focus on the little things and what you need to do to start producing,” Lucic said. “Like driving the net and stopping in front and that’€™s what got me my goal and we had us some other pretty good chances despite driving the net and going hard to the net. So, like I said if you focus on just doing the little things right that will turn into production.

“It sucks that we lost but from a personal standpoint we want to try and build off the type of game that you had to carry on to the next couple games.

“I think we got to do a little bit of a better job in getting that first goal. You look at records around the league when teams score the first goal there is a pretty good percentage that they end up winning the game. We’€™ve done a good job at battling back, but still it’€™s a lot easier to play with the lead and move forward and I think we got to put a little emphasis on that going into Friday [vs. Winnipeg].”

Lucic admitted he needs to start producing like a “Top-6″ forward on his team.

“It’€™s really important,” he said. “I think our compete level in the last couple games has been there and it’€™s where we want it to be. We just got to be more hungry and committed in the o-zone and try to score goals. For myself, obviously, the production isn’€™t there where you’€™d like it to be, but if you keep working at it and keep doing things like we did tonight, going to the net, stopping in front, trying to find loose pucks. You know a lot of the goals are scored right in front of the net so for myself, just try to gain some confidence from scoring a goal here tonight. We can’€™t let an overtime loss bring us down we got to keep our compete level up and keep on pushing.”

And with David Krejci out, Claude Julien is trying to give Lucic another big body to work with in Carl Soderberg.

“He does a really good job of using his big body to protect the puck,” Lucic said. “You’€™ve seen the player that he’€™s grown into, as far as confidence in all areas of the ice and especially producing offensively he’€™s become a dangerous threat as far as that goes. You saw tonight when we’€™re working off each other we can be an effective line so we got to take these next three days of practice and keep building that chemistry.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

David Pastrnak wasn’t about to complain about ice time or being mixed and matched with different lines. The 18-year-old was just happy to be making his NHL debut Monday night against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins.

The Czech played 10 shifts for a total of seven minutes, 53 seconds, with three missed shots, a hit, a takeaway and a giveaway in Boston’s 3-2 overtime loss to Pittsburgh.

The soft-spoken Czech reminded many of David Krejci afterward, speaking softly but admitting that he was indeed a little nervous getting the call up.

“A little bit for sure, but I said I just tried to play for the team and tried to do my best for the win and play my game,” Pastrnak said. “I think we played hard. We battled hard and tried to go to the net but it wasn’€™t enough. I tried to my best for the team and enjoy the time and enjoy the game.”

Coach Claude Julien mixed and matched Pastrnak on different lines Monday, taking advantage of the very fluid situation caused by the numerous injuries and limiting Brad Marchand, who was playing his first game back since coming off the injured reserve list.

“Well, we had to look at him, right?” Julien said of Pastrnak. “Plus, I thought he had good legs and so I put him on a couple lines here. And obviously you can see he’€™s a pretty dynamic player. He had that one shift with Bergy’€™s [Patrice Bergeron] line; March [Brad Marchand] and him had a real good shift there in the o-zone. I liked his game. I know he probably didn’€™t get a tone of ice time, but when he was out there I liked what he did.”

Pastrnak even got a chance to play on the second team power play in the first period.

“It doesn’€™t matter here, you know, everybody are good players. I just try to do my best,” Pastrnak said. “I mean, I am happy, I’€™ve been happy for every minute, every second I’€™m on the ice and I try to do my best.”

“It was alright, it was first game so I’€™m a little bit nervous but I’€™ll try to enjoy them and have the best time.”

Pastrnak, who had five goals and 13 assists in 17 games for Providence, has had a little time to adjust to the faster game in North America after growing up and playing in Europe.

“Yeah, for sure it’€™s different,” Pastrnak said. “It’€™s faster because it’€™s more ice. I think I like this kind of game. I’€™m getting used to it and I got use for it and I like this.

“It’€™s my dream. My dream, which came true and I just have to keep working hard and I want more games like this.”

Pastrnak’s first shift was not the first time he stepped on the ice. He jumped over the boards roughly two minutes into the game but was immediately called back. He eventually made his debut a minute later, moments after Crosby gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead.

“It was my first game so I didn’€™t put anything big’€”try to leave there my best,” Pastrnak said, understandably at a loss for words. “It was I don’€™t know I can’€™t describe it. Just try to play my game and enjoy the time on the ice.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Loui Eriksson and Carl Soderberg are key to Boston's banged-up offense. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)The Bruins have prided themselves on offensive depth for the better part of the last five seasons. Right now, they’ll happily take having two good lines. 



In a perfect world, Milan Lucic would play with a healthy David Krejci and the two would anchor Boston’€™s top offensive line.

Loui Eriksson

Loui Eriksson

In a perfect world, Milan Lucic would play with a healthy David Krejci and the two would anchor Boston’€™s top offensive line. With Krejci still battling through lower-body issues that have dogged him all season, that can’€™t happen and Boston’€™s best bet is skating Lucic on Carl Soderberg’€™s line and bump that up to being the team’€™s second line.

On Monday, that line was very effective for Boston. Matched up against Evgeni Malkin’€™s line, the Lucic-Soderberg-Eriksson trio created numerous scoring chances, one of which led to a Lucic goal that started with Soderberg sending a spin-o-rama pass behind his back to Eriksson down low.

Malkin would strike on a second-period power-play goal, however, and would provide the overtime dagger against Patrice Bergeron‘s line in Pittsburgh’s 3-2 overtime win.

Soderberg appeared to have a goal later in the second period when a rebound of a Milan Lucic tip went off him and into the net, but it was ruled no goal after officials concluded that Soderbreg had knocked the puck in with his hand.

Here are four other things we learned Monday:

BRUINS’€™ AIM FOR NET-FRONT PRESENCE DOESN’€™T WORK FOR OFFICIALS 

The Bruins had trouble getting to the net Saturday against the Canadiens. They had trouble getting away with being in front of the net Monday.

A Patrice Bergeron goal was disallowed in the first period after it was determined that he knocked a rebound from Marc-Andre Fleury into the net with a high stick. The rule on the ice was a goal, but the other three officials ruled it no goal, with the replay confirming that Bergeron’€™s stick was above the cross bar.

That worst of it came later in the period, when Reilly Smith was the victim of a goaltender interference call. With Dougie Hamilton taking a shot from the point, Smith went to the net and was shoved into Fleury at the top of the crease. It was a tough break for Smith, who couldn’€™t get out of the way.

PASTRNAK COMES OFF THE BENCH FOR STRONG THIRD PERIOD 

The Bruins essentially recalled Providence’€™s first line over the past few days, but Claude Julien didn’€™t seem to be overly comfortable with playing the trio of Alexander Khokhlachev between Jordan Caron and David Pastrnak.

Caron and Khokhlachev were scored on during their first shift, with Pastrnak taking the ice afterwards with his linemates. The 18-year-old got just three shifts in each of the first two periods, though he did see time on the power play in the first period and took a shift with Reilly Smith during a second-period 4-on-3 for Boston.

Pastrnak was given a shift with Gregory Campbell in the second and played multiple shifts on Patrice Bergeron‘s line in place of either Brad Marchand or Smith. Claude Julien gave the Caron-Khokhlachev-Pastrnak line a shift midway through the third period, but Khokhlachev got off the ice in favor of Bergeron before long.

The Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak trio had a very strong shift with about seven minutes to play, with Marchand nearly scoring twice, one of which was on a feed from Pastrnak.

JOE MORROW GETS HIS REVENGE

Morrow scored the first goal of his NHL career as the Penguins‘€™ first-round pick faced the team that drafted him in the 2011 draft for the first time Monday.

The twice-traded Morrow (first from Pittsburgh to Dallas, then to Dallas to Boston) has played well at the NHL level since being recalled from Providence, but he’€™s focused on playing more of a mistake-free game than flashing the offensive skill that made him a first-round pick. That didn’€™t stop him from throwing a wrist shot toward a crowded net in the second period that found its way into the net to give Boston a 2-1 lead.

BRAD MARCHAND IS BACK 

The Bruins slowly began getting healthy on offense with the return of Brad Marchand to the lineup Monday night.

Marchand was back in the lineup against the Penguins after a three-game absence due to an undisclosed injury. Though David Pastrnak took a pair of shifts in his place in the third period, Marchand played throughout the night in his usual spot alongside Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith. He was part of a penalty kill that fended off Pittsburgh on a late too-many-men penalty.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

The Bruins assigned forward Seth Griffith to Providence Monday, an indication that Brad Marchand could be nearing a return to the lineup. Marchand was taken off injured reserve prior to Monday’s game against the Penguins.

The Bruins assigned forward Seth Griffith to Providence Monday, an indication that Brad Marchand could be nearing a return to the lineup. Marchand was taken off injured reserve prior to Monday’s game against the Penguins.

With Marchand off IR, the Bruins would have been over their roster limit of 23 players. By sending Griffith down, the team avoided exposing a player to waivers. Griffith is tied for the team lead with five goals, so there’s a chance he won’t be in Providence for long. The Bruins’ next game after Monday is Friday.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
David Pastrnak

David Pastrnak

David Pastrnak obviously isn’€™t close to being the player he’€™ll one day be at the NHL level, but the usual shortcomings of a young skilled player are all worth overlooking for the 2014 first-round pick. The only true road block on the ice for Pastrnak playing in Boston this year was going to be his size.

“€œTo throw someone [in] at that age, at that weight…”€ Peter Chiarelli said, making a face when speaking at the conclusion of July’€™s development camp. “But there’€™€™s been guys that have done it.”

The 5-foot-10 right wing weighed 165 pounds when the Bruins got their hands on him in June’€™s draft. He was offensively sensational at points during a rookie tournament in Tennessee in September, but he didn’€™t seem well-suited for board work and was easily pushed away from the net by opposing defensemen. In his second NHL practice, he suffered a shoulder injury on a check from Matt Bartkowski.

Now, after dazzling at the AHL level with five goals and 13 assists for 18 points through 17 games for Providence thus far and being named the AHL’€™s Rookie of the Month in October, Pastrnak is in Boston and preparing for what could be his NHL debut Monday night against the Penguins.

He’€™s shown that he has adjusted to the smaller ice in North America after growing up in the Czech Republic and playing the last two years in Sweden, but as he heads to the NHL, the questions of whether he can handle the physicality of hockey’€™s toughest league aren’€™t going away.

Pastrnak hopes he can help answer those questions after putting on some weight in Providence. He said he’€™s bulked up a bit in Providence, guessing that he is currently up to 176 pounds and that the extra weight feels good.

“I feel a lot stronger on the puck and around the boards and in battling,” Pastrnak said. “I think it helps me. I like it. I didn’€™t lose my speed so much. That’€™s what I was looking for.”

Pastrnak skated on a line with Jordan Caron and Alexander Khokhlachev in Monday’€™s morning skate. That has been his line in Providence this season, so the trio at least has familiarity going for it.

When asked about the 18-year-old’€™s development, Claude Julien spoke about the strides Pastrnak has made as a defensive player. Pastrnak has long looked up to David Krejci, a Czech player who he feels is capable of being dominant offensively while also being responsible in his own zone.

“I think, right now, that’€™s what David is trying to learn in Providence,€” Julien said. “We know how dynamically he makes things happen. He’€™s a skill player, can score goals but we don’€™t expect perfection but you have to be at least a little bit reliable defensively.

“That’€™s what he’€™s working on over there and he’€™s gotten better, so that’€™s where we’€™re at with him and I guess, like you guys, I’€™m going to find out a little bit more about him if he plays tonight.”

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

David Krejci and Chris Kelly remain out for the Bruins as they face the

Claude Julien had to break up a light altercation between Tuukka Rask and Carl Soderberg in Monday’€™s morning skate after Soderberg respond