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Satan has a hand in win

Goal-starved team needs his offense

By Brendan Hall
Globe Correspondent / March 5, 2010

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Miroslav Satan isn’t about to tip his hand.

“I don’t want to give out too many secrets,’’ the veteran winger cracked when asked about his winner in last night’s 3-2 shootout victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Bruins’ first win at TD Garden in 2010. “It’s something I added to the old move.’’

The move on goalie Jean-Sebastian Giguere, on the Bruins’ third try in the shootout, was indeed a new twist on something he’d been known for during his prime in Buffalo. Skating down the slot, the lefthanded-shooting Satan tapped the back of his blade on the ice for a split second, faked a forehand snap shot, then swiftly switched to the backhand, guiding the puck between Giguere’s left skate and the post.

Premeditated?

“It usually depends on the goalie, you try to find what works against him,’’ Satan said. “Sometimes you decide even before you touch the puck what you’re going to do, and sometimes you look and try to find something. Today was the first case.’’

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, Satan’s Olympic teammate with Slovakia, still says the 35-year-old has the softest hands in the league. Maybe so, but in the two months since Satan was acquired as a free agent, we’ve only seen them on display in spurts.

Last night was one of those spurts. In regulation, he landed one shot on net and attempted two in 8:33 of ice time (13 shifts), but he made it count.

With the game scoreless midway through the first period, Shawn Thornton smartly skipped the puck up the ice from the left boards, hitting an uncovered Satan at center ice. Satan then fired from the high slot and beat Giguere five-hole. The goal was just Satan’s fourth this season, but second in his last three games.

“I just threw it to an area where I thought he might be. It ended up being right on his tape, but obviously I’m not Savvy [Marc Savard] throwing backhanded saucer passes up the middle,’’ Thornton said. “I was just getting it out into an area where I thought he was. I was hoping worst case he could chip it in and get on the forecheck, but it ended up working out just like I had planned.’’

Said coach Claude Julien, “That’s what we need. You need somebody who at some point is going to come up big for you, and Miro is that for us, offensively.’’

And on a night when the defense was sloppy at best - and goalie Tim Thomas stood on his head to thwart breakaway after breakaway - the effort from Satan will suffice.

It’s hard to gauge the expectations of such a low-risk acquisition, but the Bruins are hopeful Satan can pick up some slack, especially now that his right hand, which needed stitches after the knob of his stick made a V-shaped laceration on his palm in the Bruins’ 5-4 win over Tampa Bay on Feb. 11, seems to be OK.

“Those last two or three games before I got hurt, I felt really good,’’ Satan said. “Then this hand injury slowed me down in two or three games in the Olympics. I was just trying to heal my hand so I could get some participation there. It’s been three weeks now since the injury, so my hand finally feels back to normal. It’s healthy and it feels strong again.’’

Those same soft hands that never give too much away.

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