Still trying to get his game back, Savard turnover costly

Still trying to get his game back, Savard turnover costly

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Marc Savard always has his equipment off by the time the media gets postgame locker-room access.

That wasn't the case on Saturday night.

Savard sat in his stall with his lower body still fully equipped. His night wasn't all that bad, until about 12 seconds left in overtime.

That's when Savard's turnover in the Philadelphia zone resulted in a Mike Richards goal with three seconds left in the extra period, giving the Flyers a 2-1 overtime win at the TD Garden.

"He was doing well there for most of the game, and it's unfortunate," said Bruins coach Claude Julien after the loss. "I don't know if he thought he had somebody behind there supporting, but it turned out to be a bad pass.

"This was a game of inches, and the smallest mistake would end up costing you. And I thought we made that mistake in the second period, on an odd-man rush a couple times . . . Right at the end, another ill-advised play, and it ended up in our net."

Instead of eating the puck in Philadelphia's corner, and going to a shootout, Savard made a no-look pass to the blue line, but because of the four-on-four overtime, nobody was there, and Richards picked up the loose puck, and skated down the right wing on a 2-on-1.

Richards faked a pass, inside the hash marks, and beat Tim Thomas with a quick snap shot for the win.

"I just threw it back to the point, and obviously it was my fault there," said Savard after the game. "Johnny Boychuk had gone down to the net, and I just thought Dennis Seidenberg was back there and was in the middle more, so I just made a bad play, that's all."

Savard isn't known for his bad plays. He's one of the league's top playmakers, when he's healthy.

Saturday night marked his fifth game of the season, after missing the first two months while dealing with post-concussion syndrome.

Nobody ever said that returning from post-concussion syndrome was an easy transition. Just ask Patrice Bergeron.

It's going to take time for Savard to get his timing and vision back to normal. When that happens, Savard won't make as many mistakes as he's made in his first five games this season.

And Saturday night was as bad as you get.

Savard finished the game with no points, and was a minus-two. He now only has one assist and is a minus-three in five games this year. That assist came on Thursday, after he knocked a faceoff into the slot, where Milan Lucic quickly snapped it home.

It wasn't a typical Savard-esque dish. But his decision making has been improving. His passes have been getting better. His timing is coming back to form.

And then Saturday night happens.

"I felt like I'm building on stuff, and then that happens, so it's tough," said Savard. "You've got to be strong. Obviously I've been through a lot, so I'll come out of it.

"My line created a lot of things, but unfortunately, I come out of it a minus-two," added Savard. "The game's weird sometimes, but I'm strong, I'll get through it."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

ap_17146189635759.jpg

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want. 

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

It was the longest run that the P-Bruins have had in a few years and another unmistakable sign that the future is brightening for the Black and Gold, but the Bruins AHL affiliate has ended their playoff push in the Calder Cup semi-finals. 

The Providence Bruins fell by a 3-1 score to the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday night to lose to the Crunch in five games when the best-of-seven series was set to return to Providence this coming week. The P-Bruins had vanquished the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and Hershey Bears in the first two rounds of the Calder Cup playoffs before finally exiting against Syracuse. 

Though it’s over, it’s clear some of the Bruins prospects made a nice step forward over the second half of the AHL season and then into the Calder Cup playoffs. With the Calder Cup Finals yet to start, B’s forward prospect Danton Heinen stands as the second-leading playoff scorer in the entire AHL with nine goals and 18 points in 17 playoff games after really struggling in the first half of his first pro season while bouncing back and forth between the NHL and the AHL. 

This could bode well for the skilled Heinen and his hopes to make the leap to the NHL in the near future after a stellar collegiate career at the University of Denver. AHL journeymen-types Wayne Simpson and Jordan Szwarz were the next two top scorers for the P-Bruins in the playoff run, but Jake DeBrusk had a strong playoff season as well while popping in six goals in 17 games. DeBrusk led all Providence players with his 54 shots on net in the 17-game playoff run for Providence, and he headlined a group that included B’s prospects Ryan Fitzgerald, Zach Senyshyn, Matt Grzelcyk, Peter Cehlarik (who succumbed to shoulder surgery during the playoffs), Emil Johansson and Robbie O’Gara all getting some vital playoff experience. 

Both Heinen and DeBrusk will be strong candidates for jobs on the wing with the Boston big club when training camp opens in the fall after strong showings in the postseason. 

On the goaltending side, Zane McIntyre was solid for the P-Bruins at times while in 16 of their 17 playoff games with a .906 save percentage. But it was Malcolm Subban that was playing at the very end of the playoff run for Providence and featured a sterling .937 save percentage in the four AHL playoff games that he appeared in this spring after an up-and-down regular season. McIntyre had an .857 save percentage and 4.37 goals against average in the final series against Syracuse, and looked a little spent like many of the other P-Bruins players once they’d unexpectedly made it to the third round of the AHL postseason.  

The only unfortunate part of Providence’s run is that newly signed youngsters Charlie McAvoy and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson couldn’t be a part of it after signing and then appearing in NHL games following a cut-off date for AHL playoff rosters. Both missed on an experience that could have been very conducive for their professional development, and uncovered a wrinkle in the NHL/AHL transaction process that really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a developmental league.