Milan Lucic’s daughters helped set up the Calgary Flames locker-room in Boston on Thursday morning.
Hanging the road white jerseys before the game against the Bruins (5 p.m. MT; SN360), Valentina and Nikolina were creating memories in their hometown.
Born there during Lucic’s time with the Boston Bruins, the girls were young when they moved away following a trade to the Los Angeles Kings. Mom and Dad took them on a bit of a tour down memory lane on Wednesday, showing them some of their favourite spots from eight storied seasons.
“It’s always good to be back here,” Lucic told Flames TV after the morning skate. “Brought the girls with me this time because they haven’t been back since we got traded. Showed them where they were born and where they used to live. Just walking around town.
“It was a lot of fun to do.”
The evening assignment may not be as fun.
Undefeated on home ice so far (7-0) the Bruins got good news in the morning. Stud defenceman Charlie McAvoy is healthy enough to make his season debut.
The Calgary Flames, meanwhile, are on a six-game losing streak. They feel they haven’t been rewarded on their current road trip with losses in both games so far, against the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils.
It won’t be easy to turn that around against one of the NHL’s best so far.
“It’s a big game for us. Not being able to get a win on this road-trip, where we feel like we’ve had two really good games,” Lucic said. “And it just gets tougher with an opponent that is first in the league and is 7-0 at home.
Boston is a sports town that lives and dies by the success of its teams. Whether it’s the Celtics, Patriots, Red Sox or Bruins, the fans create an energetic environment that makes it tougher for road teams to stay even keeled.
While the Flames struggled at the end of their long eight-game home stand, turning a 5-1 start into a 5-4-1 record before hitting the road, the Bruins are thriving at their rink.
“You know what this game means for us. We are on a losing streak, so we want to get back in the win column. Sometimes, you gotta use it as motivation when you’re playing the best team in the league. Lots to play for. Lots to get motivated for. We’ve got to do that here tonight.”