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Savard's injury put Metropolit at center stage

Bruins rookie Milan Lucic (right) might get a chance to throw his weight around while playing on a scoring line in the near future. Bruins rookie Milan Lucic (right) might get a chance to throw his weight around while playing on a scoring line in the near future. (PAUL CONNORS/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

MARINA DEL REY, Calif. - According to general manager Peter Chiarelli, Marc Savard suffered a slight groin strain late in the second period of the Bruins' 3-1 win over Phoenix Saturday.

Savard is day-to-day and will be re-evaluated today before the Bruins' practice at the Toyota Sports Center in nearby El Segundo. It is unknown whether Savard will be ready for Wednesday's game against Anaheim.

Savard has been blessed with good health, playing in 82 games in each of the last two seasons.

On Saturday, after Savard was shut down, center Glen Metropolit took his place on the No. 1 line and on the top power-play unit. Metropolit, whom the Bruins invited to training camp and signed to a one-year, $500,000 contract, performed well. He received 16:18 of ice time, logging one shot, winning seven of 16 faceoffs, and teaming with Peter Schaefer on the penalty kill. Metropolit had 9:01 of playing time against Dallas the night before.

"I thought he did very well when he moved up in the lineup," said Chiarelli. "That was part of the objective when we signed him. He's versatile and can fill in when needed."

Last year, Metropolit started the year in Atlanta between snipers Slava Kozlov and Marian Hossa. While playing for Atlanta and St. Louis, Metropolit amassed 33 points.

For more than two weeks, Dennis Wideman waited.

The 24-year-old defenseman, once pegged as a candidate to quarterback the No. 1 power-play unit, was a healthy scratch in the preseason-ending 4-2 loss to the Islanders, and was in suit and tie for the season-opening 4-1 loss to Dallas.

So when Wideman replaced Bobby Allen in the lineup Saturday, teaming with Mark Stuart on the No. 3 defensive pairing, it had been 15 days since he had seen game action.

He wasn't about to botch his opportunity.

"Just wanted to keep it simple as possible," said Wideman, who's been known to take risks. "Get back in my zone and get back in the swing of things. Keep it simple, protect my position, and get my confidence going."

Wideman skated 16 shifts for a total of 12:16 of ice time in the win over the Coyotes, recording two hits, one takeaway, one giveaway, and a blocked shot. Wideman didn't take any gambles, playing a cautious style, finishing hits ,and chipping pucks past the aggressive Phoenix forecheckers to his forwards. With his play, Wideman might have earned another start Wednesday.

"That's been the message," Chiarelli said of Wideman's keep-it-simple approach. "We want to get him to make those crisp first passes. We've been trying to deliver that message. He also did a good job of keeping the puck to the outside."

In his first two NHL games, Milan Lucic has skated on the fourth line with Metropolit and Shawn Thornton, getting limited shifts but making the most of his ice time (a fight Friday and a scoring chance Saturday).

Sometime in the upcoming games, Lucic might get a crack at playing on a skilled line, allowing the Bruins to get a better idea of his 2007-08 future.

"We've discussed that option," Chiarelli said. "At some point he might get that opportunity. We want to get a proper evaluation of him, and we wouldn't be able to do that without him playing on a higher line. At the same time, he's going to have to earn that."

With his assist on Marco Sturm's third-period goal Saturday, David Krejci recorded his first career NHL point. Krejci also led the Bruins in blocked shots, preventing three pucks from getting through to Tim Thomas . . . Patrice Bergeron has a goal in each of the first two games. But more important, Bergeron has been playing with presence against opposing No. 1 centermen (Mike Modano Friday, Niko Kapanen Saturday). "I've seen Bergy coming around the last couple weeks," Thomas said. "I could see it happening. He's been really good in practice. In the last preseason game, I thought he looked really good." . . . The Bruins have been beaten in the faceoff circle in both games so far. They have won 44 draws and lost 58 (43 percent winning percentage) . . . Zdeno Chara led the Bruins with four hits Saturday, none harder than the first-period thump he laid on Phoenix captain Shane Doan, perhaps setting the tone for the rest of the game.

Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at fshinzawa@globe.com.

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