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Bruins Notebook

Healthy Sturm proves that he’s good to go

By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / January 31, 2010

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After Thursday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena, his first full session since missing five straight games because of a leg injury, Marco Sturm said he felt good. Just not good enough, he estimated, to return to the lineup until next week.

But after a strong morning skate Friday at Buffalo’s HSBC Arena (Sturm would sit out his sixth consecutive game that night), the left wing declared himself fit for action last night at TD Garden.

He was certainly welcome.

At 15:16 of the second period, Sturm scored his team-leading 16th goal to tie the game at 1-1.

“He was breaking down his wing tonight and skating very well,’’ said Marc Savard, who set up Sturm for the goal.

The play started when a clearing attempt struck linesman Jonny Murray, allowing Savard to gain control of the puck. Savard connected with Sturm in the slot. Sturm waited for Drew Doughty to slide by, considered dishing to Michael Ryder, then took his time to load up his stick and get some heat behind his shot.

“First time in a while we had a nice break,’’ said Sturm. “The puck hit the [linesman] and Savvy just made a nice play across. I waited a little bit. I saw the guy sliding. Then I shot.’’

Sturm, skating alongside Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi, has been the team’s most effective finisher of late. Sturm went through one of his signature cold streaks early when he went 12 straight games without a goal. Sturm has six goals in his last 11 games. Last night, Sturm had three shots in 15:14 of ice time.

“I was really excited,’’ Sturm said of playing. “I couldn’t wait. I felt really good. We played hard. Even [Friday] night, we played hard. If we play like this every night, we’re going to be good.’’

Begin back in, too
Steve Begin, out for the last five games because of a lower-body injury he suffered the last time the Bruins played the Kings, also returned to the lineup. Begin centered the fourth line, with Daniel Paille and Byron Bitz serving as his wingmen.

Begin threw a team-high four hits in 9:37 of ice time, including 2:39 on the penalty kill.

With Sturm and Begin in uniform, Shawn Thornton and Vladimir Sobotka were healthy scratches. It was the first time Thornton had been a healthy scratch all season.

“There’s no easy decision when it comes to that,’’ coach Claude Julien said. “The unfortunate part is that you dress 20 players. You go with the lineup you think is the best for that game.’’

Power switches on
It was a do-or-die night on the power play for the Bruins, who looked legless on their first two opportunities of the opening period (hooking on Doughty, tripping on Ryan Smyth). The Bruins should have gone on a four-minute power play at 4:58 of the second period after Wayne Simmonds threw down with Mark Stuart. The Los Angeles forward was given a two-minute minor for instigating and an unsportsmanlike conduct minor for wearing a visor while starting a fight with Stuart, who doesn’t wear a shield.

But Tim Thomas wiped out two minutes when he high-sticked Brad Richardson at 5:27. Then with 30 seconds remaining on Simmonds’s penalty, the Bruins went on a five-on-three power play when Rob Scuderi was called for cross-checking. The Bruins, with Savard, Bergeron, Recchi, Zdeno Chara, and Dennis Wideman on the ice, couldn’t score during the two-man advantage

“In the first part of the game, our power play was killing us,’’ Julien said.

Following their 0-for-5 start, the Bruins converted their final two power-play chances.

“We got Sturm back. We got Savvy back. There’s a little bit of familiarity there,’’ said Julien. “We mixed our back end with Bergy [on the second unit] and Wideman [on the first unit]. Guys are a little more familiar with each other. That’s helping a little bit.’’

Welcome home
Former UMass star and Connecticut native Jonathan Quick has a career-best five straight wins. “I had my family in town for the game,’’ said Quick, who will join Thomas in Vancouver for the Olympics. “It makes it a little more special when you get to play in front of people you know.’’

Tough to ice

Referee Eric Furlatt left the game at 3:12 of the third period because of a leg injury. Doughty ran into Furlatt, causing his left leg to buckle. Being a hockey referee, Furlatt returned later in the third, naturally . . . Bergeron won 15 of 22 faceoffs. Krejci, however, lost 10 of 12 draws . . . Andrew Ference, the Bruins’ only injured player, is hoping to practice with his teammates this week . . . Wideman led all players with 28:24 of ice time . . . Julien gave his players today off, their first rest day since Jan. 19 . . . The Bruins are winless in their last six home games. It’s the second-longest losing streak in team history . . . The Kings have won their last six road games . . . Because of an indoor lacrosse game at the Garden yesterday afternoon, the Bruins scrubbed their morning skate.

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

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