A win — with a catch
Bruins romp but Savard hurt again
DENVER — The good feelings about yesterday’s 6-2 thumping of the Avalanche were somewhat muted after the latest head shot for Marc Savard, a blow that left the once-addled Bruins center behind in Denver last night while his teammates moved on to Los Angeles.
At 3:19 of the second period, Matt Hunwick, the ex-Bruin swapped to Colorado to clear cap space for Savard, thumped the center into the boards with a clean check. Savard hit the deck and stayed there for several minutes while trainer Don DelNegro rushed to his side. Savard, holding a towel to his left cheek, skated off the ice with assistance from Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron and didn’t return.
Coach Claude Julien said Savard wasn’t showing any concussion-like symptoms. To be cautious, considering Savard’s history, the center will have his two-game road trip cut short. Savard will fly back to Boston today and be re-evaluated.
“Right now, he’s shook up,’’ Julien said. “He seemed fine. We’re just being cautious. I think it’s the right thing to do.’’
Last Saturday, Pittsburgh defenseman Deryk Engelland sent Savard into the boards at TD Garden, a hit that also dropped the center to the ice. After that hit, Savard didn’t miss any time. He acknowledged feeling dazed after the game, but he practiced the next day without any symptoms.
Yesterday, Savard was limited to 7:03 of ice time. He was not available for comment after the win.
“Probably the way he got hit was what rattled him,’’ said Julien. “So our trainers felt it was better to make sure to be cautious about that and get our doctors to evaluate him.’’
Yesterday was Savard’s 25th game since returning Dec. 2. Savard, who had been centering Michael Ryder and Nathan Hor ton, entered yesterday with four assists in his last five games.
Savard’s injury was the only blemish to a picture-perfect road win. Brad Marchand scored two goals and had two assists for his first 4-point explosion. Milan Lucic potted a pair to set a career high (19 goals). Gregory Campbell jolted his teammates awake with a first-period fight. The Bruins chased Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson after 40 minutes. Tim Thomas stopped 32 of 34 shots.
“We had a great game,’’ said Marchand, who capped the victory with an empty-net goal. “It really started with Soup. He started it off with a huge fight for us.
“We had a really good game after that. We played 60 minutes of great effort. Everyone was going.’’
Again, the line that sparkled was the No. 2 threesome of Marchand, Bergeron, and Mark Recchi. For most of the season, Marchand had done his blue-collar work on the fourth line with Campbell and Shawn Thornton. But once the coaching staff moved Marchand up, he has helped turn his line into the club’s most consistent two-way trio.
“We’re getting a lot out of those guys,’’ Julien said. “Defensively, they’re playing against top lines and they’re doing a great job there. But they’re also producing at the other end.
“They’re very reliable. I like that line. That’s why we’ve kept them together. We know that Marsh was a big part of that line with Campbell and Thornton. But we’ve been able to find some players and make that line a good line.
“We really like what he’s brought to Bergeron and Recchi’s line. So far, we don’t plan on breaking that up.’’
Yesterday, the line had plenty of shifts against Matt Duchene, Colorado’s top center. Marchand helped set the defensive tone by flattening Duchene with a first-period hit.
At the other end, they repeatedly torched Anderson and the Colorado defense. In the first, after Campbell challenged Cody McLeod to a fight at 2:57, Marchand tied the game by driving to the net and tapping in a Recchi pass.
Lucic, clearing space for himself in front of the net, gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal at 12:00 of the first.
At 14:44 of the second, Marchand and Recchi connected again. First, Marchand blocked Ryan O’Byrne’s shot, then sprinted the other way for a two-on-one against John-Michael Liles. Marchand sold Liles and Anderson on shooting, then slid a cross-crease pass to Recchi. With the net wide open, Recchi tapped in his 10th goal.
“With Brad, he comes in every game and he competes hard. That’s No. 1,’’ said Julien.
“We talk about Bergy as one of those guys who comes in and plays hard every night. Well, Marchand is one of those guys as well. We know he’s going to come and play hard. Some nights he’s better than others. Some nights, even if he works hard, it doesn’t mean that he has a great game or that he accomplishes a lot. But you can lean on him and you can rely on him.
“He came up big for us. He had 4 points and made some great plays. The Recchi goal, what a beautiful pass. He made a lot of great plays. Definitely he was a good player for us.’’
Lucic’s second goal at 19:04 of the second gave the Bruins a 4-1 lead. Former Boston University defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk trimmed the deficit to two at 1:41 of the third after dangling around Bergeron and lifting a backhander over Thomas’s glove.
But Bergeron halted Colorado’s momentum when his down-low shot glanced off Liles’s skate and skittered past backup netminder Peter Budaj at 9:56 of the third.
“We felt that if we played well and responsibly defensively, we were going to get our opportunities,’’ Julien said.
“This is a team that comes at you hard. Offensively, they’re a pretty potent team. They score a lot of goals. We had to make sure that part of our game was there. If it was there, the rest of the game would take care of itself.’’
Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at email@example.com.