Savard's crucial mistake gets him benched

191545.jpg

Savard's crucial mistake gets him benched

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- The middle of the bench is nowhere you want to be for more than one shift change. Not in the NHL, not in college or high school. Not ever.

But that's where Marc Savard found himself for the final 10 minutes of Thursday's 3-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild at the TD Garden.

Savard, for the second time this season -- in his second month of play since returning from post-concussion syndrome -- turned the puck over late in a game, leading to the opposing team's game-winning goal.

The first came on Dec. 11, at the Garden against the Philadelphia Flyers, when his no-look pass to the point resulted in a Mike Richards-led 2-on-1 in the final seconds of overtime, which Richards finished off for the Flyers' 2-1 win.

Less than a month later Savard found himself with a similar pit in his stomach, after his attempted flip out of the zone had no juice on it, and ended up on the tape of Minnesota forward Cal Clutterbuck in the opening minutes of the third period.

Clutterbuck took the turnover in the high slot and sniped top-right on Tuukka Rask, who called Savard's turnover "an awful mistake." It gave Minnesota a 2-1 lead and the Wild went on to the 3-1 victory.

"I tried to flip it out, because we had a tired group out there, and I just fanned on it," said Savard. "It was a mistake. It happens. and I just have to try and bounce back.

"I just wanted to get a high flipper out of the zone, and then get a good line change. But the puck never left the ice."

Savard returned on his regular shift, but then wasn't seen anywhere other than the middle of Boston's bench for a six-minute stretch late in the third period. He returned to the ice as the extra attacker in the final minute of regulation, when Rask was pulled, and was also seen on the power play.

Coach Claude Julien's comments after the game indicated that, on this night, he had stopped trusting Savard in 5-on-5 situations.

"We put him in positions where he could help us, and took him out of positions where he made mistakes and probably wasn't at his best," said Julien.

Benching Savard late in a one-goal game at home was the first question Julien had to answer to during his postgame press conference. Mainly because this is the second player in just as many weeks with whom Julien has had to address that "c" word: Confidence.

Last weekend it was Rask, who Julien yanked from Saturday's game after the first period, having had already sat him on the pine for the seven previous games, in favor of Tim Thomas.

The "confidence" debate had reached its peak with the young goaltender. Now, it seems to be hitting the veteran playmaker, even if Julien says he hasn't lost confidence in Savard.

"I think when you make a mistake like that, everybody's got to be accountable," said Julien. "It's one of those things that happens. It's part of the game, and I think, from the first player to the last player, you want to make sure that everybody understands.

"It was a mistake that you don't expect a guy like that to make. It doesn't mean that you lose confidence in him, because you're going to go right back with him next game, and you hope that they bounce back."

But after Julien cut the team's lines down to just three, Savard didn't seem like a guy who was too happy sitting in the middle of the Bruins' bench along with Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell.

"Julien put me right back out there, and I felt like that was good to give me a chance, and then, I don't know, he sat me down for a while," said Savard. "That's part of the game. You'll have to ask him.

"It's frustrating. You know, I feel like I get better and then something like that happens, and then I get sat down. So it's just, my confidence is swaying up and down like a boat. So it's tough, but I've been through a lot worse."

He just hopes he doesn't have to go through this again.

Danny Picard is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radioshow I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Fridayfrom 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

Rask stops 35 shots in Bruins' 2-1 win over Sabres

boston-bruins-tuukka-rask-sabres-120316.jpg

Rask stops 35 shots in Bruins' 2-1 win over Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Tuukka Rask made 35 saves to help the Bruins hold off the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 on Saturday

David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron scored to give Boston a 2-0 lead and the Bruins improved to 3-0-1 in their past four.

Evander Kane scored his first goal of the season for Buffalo. Robin Lehner returned after missing one game with a hip injury and made 32 saves.

The Sabres combined for nine goals in their previous two wins but the NHL's lowest-scoring team reverted to form from the first 21 games, when star center Jack Eichel was out of the lineup with a high-ankle sprain.

Krejci got the Bruins on the scoreboard with 5:50 left in the first when he deflected Brandon Carlo's slap shot from the point off the right post and into the net.

The Sabres appeared to tie the game late in the second period but replays determined Brian Gionta kicked the puck into the net.

Bergeron made it 2-0 at 7:10 of the second at 7:44 of the third when he knocked on the rebound of his own missed shot. Bergeron initially hit the puck with his forearm on the left edge of the crease and skated around the net to chase down the puck and slip a backhand past Lehner.

The Sabres answered two minutes later, scoring on Rask for the first time in 109:12 this season. Sam Reinhart's feed off the rear wall set up Kane for a wrist shot from the slot that bounced in off Krejci. Reinhart has five points in his last four games.

NOTES: Bruins F Matt Beleskey was escorted to the dressing room in the final minute of the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return. ... Sabres D Josh Gorges did not play after injuring his foot blocking a shot in Thursday's win over the New York Rangers. With Dmitry Kulikov (lower back) and Zach Bogosian (MCL sprain) also out, the Sabres were down three of their top four defenseman and recalled 19-year-old Brendan Guhle from the minors to make his NHL debut. Guhle hustled back to thwart a breakaway by Krejci late in the third period. ... F Anton Blidh became the seventh Bruin to make his NHL debut this season after being recalled from the minors on Friday. ... The Bruins scratched F Jimmy Hayes. D Zdeno Chara, the Bruins' captain, missed his sixth straight game with a lower-body injury. ... Rask got a shutout in Boston's 4-0 win over Buffalo on Nov. 7.

UP NEXT

Bruins: Host Florida on Monday.

Sabres: At Washington on Monday.

 

© 2016 by STATS and The Associated Press.