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Bruins 8, Lightning 1

Bruins strike often

Lightning receive a sizable shock

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By Kevin Paul Dupont
Globe Staff / December 3, 2010

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Maybe Marc Savard would play for the first time this season. But hey, maybe he wouldn’t.

Marco Sturm, who owns a no-trade contract with the Bruins, perhaps was traded to Los Angeles. But wait, hold on, maybe he wasn’t.

The Tampa Bay Lightning would show themselves as the up-and-coming stars of the NHL, led by sensation Steven Stamkos. But hey, maybe they’d play like ECHL stumblebums and Stamkos would go pointless and log a minus-2.

A long, wacky, and for the most part upside-down day on Causeway Street — renamed Mayberry Street for the evening — played itself out yesterday, and it culminated in the Bruins pasting the Bolts with an 8-1 loss that had David Krejci and Michael Ryder producing three points apiece.

All the day lacked, really, was a proclamation from Hizzoner Tom Menino, designating Boston as the “Hub of Hokey.’’

In the end, yes, Savard played, and played quite well for a little fake artist, logging 15:45 of ice time and bringing some needed strut and pluck and chirp back to the Black-and-Gold bench.

“Yeah,’’ said a smiling coach Claude Julien, “he does a lot of chirping . . . he talks a lot.’’

It was Savard’s first game since May, ending a near-seven-month odyssey in which he struggled with postconcussion syndrome.

As for Sturm, a report by Canadian website TSN.ca, posted around noon, had the 32-year-old winger waiving his no-trade clause and agreeing to be dealt to the Kings. Some 9 1/2 hours later, with no confirmation of said deal from the Bruins or Kings, and Sturm’s gear still hanging in his locker, Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli lifted his cone of silence and issued a release that said Sturm is still a member of the 14-8-2 club.

Meanwhile, the Lightning could not wait to get out of the Hub. They were awful, especially in net, where Mike Smith looked grossly incompetent. He looked especially befuddled late in the first period when Dennis Seidenberg, he of no goals all season, sailed in an unobstructed shot from some 8 feet beyond Tampa’s blue line. Smith got caught leaning too far to his left, set to play Seidenberg’s hard rim shot around the boards, only to be left flatfooted when Seidenberg’s long shot zipped by him.

“Plays like that,’’ mused Smith, “there is no excuse for it.’’ Bruins 2-0.

Smith also looked bad when Shawn Thornton made it 4-1 in the second period. But Smith had a partner in this faux pas, with young blue liner Victor Hedman sharing the botch job that left the puck sitting on the goal line for Thornton to tap over for his fifth strike of the year. Let it be noted that Ilya Kovalchuk has only four goals this season.

Smith finally caught a break when rookie coach Guy Boucher invoked the mercy rule and pulled him after Krejci made it 5-1 only 34 seconds into the third period. Krejci’s shot beat him on the short side, a soft spot for Smith previously on this night.

All in all, 11 of Boston’s 18 skaters picked up at least one point on a night when they finished a collective plus-30, outhit the visitors, 23-18, and won 56 percent of the faceoffs. On the other side, Hedman scored the only goal and three of the stick carriers finished minus-3. Just a bad night.

“Nice for our guys to get rewarded,’’ said Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, who improved to 13-2-1, turning back 37 of 38 shots. “There were times this year when it hasn’t gone in for us . . . nice to see those guys getting rewarded.’’

Next game tomorrow night in Toronto. No maybes about it. At least as far as we know.

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