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Just four games into his return from the injured reserve, Milan Lucic has found himself sidelined again. Instead of a broken finger, however, the culprit this time is a high ankle sprain, which will keep the left wing from playing for approximately one month. Lucic sustained the injury in the third period of Wednesday’s 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild, when he extended himself to collect a pass from Dennis Wideman. Lucic hobbled to the bench, down the chute to the dressing room, and never returned.
While initial fears of a torn ACL or other knee ligament damage were fortunately proven untrue, losing Lucic for the second time this season is unwelcome news. Since Lucic’s return, the Bruins have won four in a row, a streak they look to continue today against the New Jersey Devils. During that span, Lucic scored twice, bringing his season points total to five (two goals, three assists). More significant than his two goals in four games, however, is the fact that the Bruins are 7-3-0 when Lucic dresses. Clearly, Lucic is one of the keys to success for the Bruins, who need desperately to continue their winning ways.
With an opening in the line-up, Vladimir Sobotka will move into Lucic’s slot, which as of late has been on the fourth line, while Byron Bitz will stay in Lucic’s normal left wing slot on the first line. Bitz, who scored the sole regulation goal against the Wild, will be partnered with Marc Savard and Blake Wheeler and will need to continue his excellent play if the Bruins hope to keep winning.