The Boston Bruins considered sending Milan Lucic back to his junior squad last season, but the rookie's impressive play earned him a spot on the Bruins' roster for all of 2007-08.
The team is even more excited about the young left winger's potential now that he can see the puck clearly.
After delivering his first career hat trick in his second game wearing corrective lenses, Lucic tries to help the Bruins build on a comeback victory as they visit the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Edmonton -135 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 63% of bets for this game have been placed on Edmonton -135 (View NHL Bet Percentages).
Lucic, 20, earned a spot with Boston out of training camp last fall, but the team expected to send him back to his junior club for further development at some point. Lucic, though, played well enough to stay with the Bruins all season, recording eight goals and 19 assists in 77 games.
Lucic appears primed for a even more productive season after his performance Saturday night. Playing with contact lenses, he scored three goals and added an assist as Boston (3-2-3) overcame an early 2-0 deficit to beat Atlanta 5-4.
"It's like going from ordinary TV to high-definition TV," said Lucic, who played with contacts once last season before losing them during a fight. "It's good to be out there when your vision's clear."
Lucic, who had one goal and two assists in his first seven games this season, scored two go-ahead goals in the third period as Boston snapped a three-game winless streak.
"He won us a hockey game tonight just with the way he played and the kind of identity we talk about - grinding it out, out-working, out-muscling," Bruins coach Claude Julien told the team's official Web site.
Lucic's big night gave the Bruins their first home win in their last game before a three-game road trip.
"If we have a good road trip here, we can build a lot of momentum going into November," Lucic said.
Edmonton (4-3-0) had momentum after opening the season with four consecutive wins. It's long gone as the Oilers have been outscored 13-4 in dropping their last three games, including a 6-3 loss at Vancouver on Saturday night in which they gave up four power-play goals in six opportunities.
Edmonton has allowed a power-play goal in each of its last five games, with a total of nine in that stretch. It's 29th in the league with a 70.0 penalty-kill percentage.
"Our penalty killing was bad. It was brutal," said coach Craig MacTavish, whose team was 0-for-4 on its power-play opportunities Saturday. "When they're 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-for-4 on their special teams, you can't overcome that. You've got to be able to kill the penalties."
MacTavish's club will try to rebound against a Bruins team that has seven power-play goals in 33 opportunities for a 21.2 conversion percentage - eighth-best in the NHL.
This is the first meeting between these teams since Boston's 3-0 win Feb. 13. Tim Thomas made 32 saves for the shutout, improving to 2-0-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average in two career starts against the Oilers.
Manny Fernandez, Boston's other goalie, is 9-6-0 with three ties, one shutout and a 2.08 GAA lifetime against Edmonton.
In three starts versus the Bruins, the Oilers' Mathieu Garon is 2-1-0 with a shutout and a 1.00 GAA.