BOSTON – On a night where Marc Savard made his return to the lineup, the Bruins provided one of their best all-around efforts of the season in an impressive 8-1 triumph over the Tampa Bay Lightning in front of 17,565 at TD Garden Thursday night.
“I think that’s the first eight goals the team has scored that I haven’t had anything on it,” said Savard, who saw 15:45 of ice time in his first game in the 2010-11 season. “But I kept telling Claude [Julien] I was a presence tonight. I felt good. I felt a little tired as the battles wore on. I just stood in front of Timmy [Thomas] so he can stop it. It was great to be back.”
While Savard didn’t record a point, 12 different Bruins notched at least one point black in the blowout, including David Krejci, who had two goals and an assist (and ironically was the only center who recorded a point, while Milan Lucic, Mark Recchi Michael Ryder each had a goal and an assist.
In a game that certainly had a bunch of storylines beforehand (Savard’s return and Marco Sturm’s nixed trade to to Los Angeles) the biggest story, at least on the stat sheets were the contributions. Thomas even tallied an assist on Shawn Thornton’s goal near the end of the second period, which made it 4-1 Bruins at the time.
“I thought it was a good game tonight, especially the effort throughout the start to the finish, and especially coming off back-to-back,” Julien said about the team’s performance and how they responded after an impressive 3-0 victory Wednesday night against the Flyers.
“We felt that we were playing a pretty good team – and a team who was rested and waiting for us at home – so we had to come out hard. I think it was important for our hockey club because we were trying to get back on track and we were certainly not pleased with our game up until last night.”
After the Bruins went 1-3 last week with losses to the Lightning, Thrashers and Hurricanes, it was important for the Bruins to set the tone early on. They did just that when Krejci scored his first goal of the game at 10:52 of the first to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead.
Krejci added his second goal of the game just 34 seconds into the third. After that goal, the Bolts pulled goaltender Mike Smith for Dan Ellis, who didn’t fare much better letting in three goals on 10 shots in 19:26.
“Our effort definitely showed on the scoreboard,” said Ryder, who scored his goal just 1:16 after Krejci’s second goal of the game. “I don’t know if it was our best effort of the year – and there are a few games where I thought we played just as well – but I think these last two games we did the things we needed to do. We struggled this past week and that week before and we couldn’t get anything going, but we got a big win yesterday and we built off of it tonight and I think we’ve got to keep doing that.”
The Bruins even got a bit of luck, thanks to Smith making a couple of blunders. Smith’s first blunder came when Dennis Seidenberg took a shot near the Bruins’ blue line. The Bolts goaltender was going to play the puck near the boards, but when Seidenberg’s shot was on net, he was caught out of position and Seidenberg gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead heading into the locker room.
Smith’s second blunder came when he and a Lightning defenseman had a miscommunication on who was handling the puck. From there Thronton banged home the puck in front of the crease for his fifth goal of the year.
“Pucks were going in tonight I guess,” Thornton said. “We had a little bit of luck involved, but on the other side everyone played a solid game. Guys were skating, guys were moving their feet and it was good to get a home win.”
Even in the lopsided victory, the Bruins would take a goal any way they can get it, even if it comes off a lucky bounce or two.