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Milan Lucic was worrying about the expectations and the money and the spotlight. He wanted to make sure he performed up to the zeros on the paychecks he was about to start receiving, and that overwhelmed him.
His performance suffered. He was benched.
That healthy scratch — and some healthy conversation with his coaches — proved the turning point, proved to be what the Bruins winger needed as he turned a disappointing regular season into a brilliant postseason, in which he matched his regular-season goal total with seven, and added 12 assists, in 22 games.
“You try to live up to this expectation of what your contract is and that starts weighing on you,” Lucic said. “You start putting unnecessary pressure on yourself instead of just going out there and worrying about playing.