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

Blidh plans to bring some energy to Bruins after call-up

Blidh plans to bring some energy to Bruins after call-up

BRIGHTON, Mass. – Anton Blidh plans on keeping things pretty straightforward on his first call-up to the NHL. 

The former sixth-round pick of the Bruins has earned his stripes at the AHL level with Providence over the last couple of seasons, and comes to Boston as a gritty, energy forward capable of stirring things up in otherwise sleepy games. There’s also a bit of offensive upside for a fourth line-type player with five goals and nine points with 22 penalty minutes and a plus-eight rating in 19 games for the P-Bruins this season. 

It remains to be seen if the Blidh call-up means that the Bruins intend to scratch a player or that somebody is questionable for Saturday afternoon’s game in Buffalo, but Patrice Bergeron did miss Friday’s practice without any real defined reason for his absence. The 21-year-old Swede said he plans to play to his strengths if he gets into the lineup for the Black and Gold, and that could mean getting under the skin of his Sabres opponents. 

“It’s my first time called up, so I’m happy,” said Blidh, who was asked what he'll bring if he gets into the lineup. “I’ll just play simple and play my own game: be hard on the puck and play with some energy. I worked hard [in Providence] and then I got some confidence. I’m not a goal-scorer, but I scored a couple of goals and got some confidence.”

Claude Julien hasn’t been able to catch up Blidh’s work since the season got started, but was pleased by the youngster’s progress in training camp, where he earned notice for his feisty, physical play on a line with Noel Acciari. 

“They said he’s playing well, so they brought him up. We’ll get to see him, hopefully tomorrow,” said Julien. “I didn’t hear a ton of fine details aside from him being a guy that was certainly playing with a lot of energy. I didn’t mind him in training camp either. He works really hard and competes hard, and we could use that.”

That would certainly be the case after watching the Bruins go through the motions for long stretches Thursday night against Carolina before essentially stealing a game that they didn’t deserve to win. 

Friday, Dec. 2: Toews vs. Matthews

Friday, Dec. 2: Toews vs. Matthews

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading, while everybody in New England is in mourning over the latest Gronk booboo. 

*A pretty neat sharpshooting video with Jonathan Toews and that young whippersnapper Auston Matthews squaring off against each other. 

*Craig Custance looks a little deeper into the situation with the Florida Panthers and how things are stabilizing after the rough firing of Gerard Gallant last week. 

*Now. let’s get to the real important stuff: the San Jose Sharks website has put together their Movember rankings for the player’s mustaches. 

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bruce Garrioch says that the plans for an outdoor game in Ottawa are again back on the NHL’s agenda. 

*Erik Erlendsson has put together a “Lightning Insider” website where you can find all the latest news about the Tampa Bay franchise. Check it out. 

*As guys such as Anton Khudobin prove when they’re thrust into the starting spot, backup goalies matter in today’s NHL. 

*For something completely different: a mash-up of Kylo Ren and “Girls” from the mad mind of Adam Driver is exactly just that.