One game does not a rehabbed Lucic make. His speed is not fully restored, and might not be until he has a full summer to summon it. His checks, though deliberate, were not the free-flowing fence busters that earned him that $6 million-a-year extension. His stick, which delivered 90 goals over his five previous seasons, remains in an extended winter’s hibernation.
What we have now, less than a week to go before the playoffs, is a rework in progress. The Lucic we once knew is stirring, stretching, again. In a season that has left everyone asking for more, it finally looks like he’s acknowledged the request.
“It doesn’t mean he has to go out there and fight every night,’’ said Julien. “He just has to play hard the way he’s been doing lately, and things are starting to come around for him.’’