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NHL Power Rankings 1/13

01.13.10 at 7:13 am ET
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The Blackhawks’ reign atop our rankings lasted just a week. Chicago may be back, but right now San Jose looks at strong as ever. We also have some movement at the bottom of the pack.

San Jose Sharks1. (3) 30-10-7 The Sharks started the week taking important division road wins in LA and Phoenix on consecutive nights, moving to the top of the rankings just before they host the Bruins Thursday.

New Jersey Devils 2. (2) 32-11-1 Nice to see Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner being named to a similar role with the U.S. Olympic hockey team.  His quiet but effective leadership sets the tone in New Jersey and will be well-served during the run for gold in Vancouver.

Chicago Blackhawks3. (1) 31-11-4 After arriving atop the rankings last week, the Blackhawks squandered a four-goal lead in a loss to Minnesota and dropped a 3-1 game at home to Anaheim. Far from impressive.

Minnesota Wild4. (4) 28-11-5 The Sabres begin a seven-game road trip in Atlanta on Thursday. The trip will include five tough games out West and could make or break hopes for securing the Northeast Division title.

Washington Capitals5. (5) 27-12-6 A 7-4 loss at Tampa Bay on Tuesday ended a three-game winning streak for the Capitals.

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Savard out 3-4 weeks with MCL tear

01.09.10 at 11:04 am ET
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The Bruins top-line center Marc Savard will be out 3-4 weeks with a Grade 2 partial MCL tear in his right knee. Savard will not require surgery. The team made the announcement this morning prior to its 1 p.m. game against the Rangers at TD Garden.

“It’s unfortunate,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “Anytime you lose a player it’s an unfortunate situation. Especially we know what Savvy can bring to our hockey club but again, that’s part of the game.”

Savard suffered the injury in the opening minute of Thursday’s 5-2 loss to Chicago.

“You hear me repeating myself in that regard, but we’ll just make the best of it as far as having to grind it out a little bit more and getting those gritty wins,” Julien reiterated.

David Krejci becomes the top center on the Bruins roster, joined by the likes of Trent Whitfield and Vladimir Sobotka. Steve Begin will be moved to center from his customary left wing position.

“We felt center was our strength, with David Krejci in there, with Savvy and Bergy, and obviously even Steve Begin was the ideal centerman on the fourth line,” Julien said.

“Vladdy has done a great job of filling in that area, too. We really feel we got a couple of good guys to fill in the spot. That’s been a position of strength. We lose that and now we’ve got to adjust to that. I’m not going to tell you anything you haven’t heard before. Everybody’s got to pick up their game, everybody’s got to grind it out, and we have to find ways to win hockey games here because that’s the most important thing right now.”

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Bruins await word on Savard

01.08.10 at 2:16 pm ET
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WILMINGTON  –  The Bruins are still awaiting word on the extent of a knee injury suffered by center Marc Savard in the opening minute of Thursday’s 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Savard underwent an MRI this afternoon.

“He’s being examined now,” said coach Claude Julien after practice. “Hopefully we’ll (know) later today or at the latest tomorrow morning.”

Julien has already ruled Savard out for Saturday afternoon’s contest against the New York Rangers at TD Garden.

With Savard awaiting results of the MRI and leading scorer Patrice Bergeron already sidelined with a broken thumb, the Bruins patched together line combinations at practice that will hopefully offset any slack in the team’s offense.

The Bruins managed to go 7-4-4 when Savard was sidelined early this season with a broken foot.

The immediate plan appears to have Vladimir Sobotka moving into Savard’s spot, centering for Marco Sturm and Mark Recchi. Sobotka, who has four goals and three assists in 34 games, has generally been skating in a supporting role, on the team’s energy line this season. But, he has been a top line center in the minors, generating 44 points in 44 games with the Providence Bruins last season.

“You have to start leaning on guys like that,” said Julien in reference to Sobotka. “He’s played that role in Providence, it’s a little different than the NHL, but you have to lean on him, and you hope that he responds.”

David Krejci continued to center for Blake Wheeler and Miroslav Satan. Milan Lucic, skated with center Steve Begin and right wing Michael Ryder. After quickly being recalled from Providence, Trent Whitfield skated on the fourth line with Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille.

With Savard sidelined, the Bruins will likely opt to provide more ice time to Krejci’s line, which may have been Boston’s best trio over the past week.

Krejci and Wheeler have shown some good early chemistry skating with Satan. The trio combined for both Boston goals against Chicago Thursday after generating three goals against Ottawa Tuesday in Satan’s first game after being singed as a free agent a week ago. Wheeler has scored four goals in the last three games.

“Those three guys have done pretty well so far in a short span of time, right now that’s what we need from that line is to give us some scoring power and they seem to create that,” Julien said.

If Savard is lost for any significant time, Krejci could be ready for added responsibility.

“I want to be a player who helps make a difference, I really want to help the team win games, I believe I can do more,” said Krejci who has four points ( 1 goal, 3 assists) in the last four games.

As Krejci, Wheeler and Satan learn more about each others tendencies, the trio could be poised for generating additional offense.

“He’s a great player, when we figure out more about where (each player) likes to go, he could score more, especially in front of the net,” said Krejci of Satan. “He’s a big guy who is tough to push aside. If you put the puck on the net, he’ll be there.”

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Sounds of the game: The Looch is back

01.08.10 at 2:05 am ET
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Milan Lucic couldn’t have picked a better time to return. The only problem was the good vibes last all of 28 seconds on Thursday night.

That’s because Marc Savard went down with a right knee injury and the injury count continued at TD Garden as the Bruins dropped a 5-2 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Bruins are now without Savard, pending the result of Friday’s MRI. They are without Patrice Bergeron for up to six weeks with a hand injury and they are without defenseman Andrew Ference for six weeks with a bad groin. Add on top of that an achy back for forward Byron Bitz and TD Garden has become TD M*A*S*H for the Bruins.

Afterward, Lucic talked about his return and the bad luck of the Bruins.

Lucic on his return.

Bruins veteran Mark Recchi said the Bruins can’t make excuses.

Blake Wheeler was among the Bruins most frustrated with the blown two-goal lead.

Claude Julien said the Bruins are very banged up right now.

Julien said Savard will go for an MRI on Friday on his right knee.

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Savard to have MRI on right knee

01.07.10 at 10:27 pm ET
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Marc Savard will have an MRI on his right knee on Friday after leaving Thursday’s night’s loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden.

“It’s a knee injury,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien in making the announcement after the game.”The severity of it, we’ll know more once we get the MRI done [Friday].”

Savard, the team’s top play-making center, left after his first shift, 28 seconds into the game, when he fell to the ice, holding his right knee. He had to be helped off the ice by teammates Marco Sturm and Mark Recchi.

He was helped to the dressing room and did not return.

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Lucic back in black

01.07.10 at 7:39 pm ET
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Milan Lucic returned to the Bruins lineup on Thursday night against the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden. He missed the last 18 games with a high left ankle sprain, suffered on Nov. 25 at Minnesota.

Lucic had returned and played just four games before suffering his second significant injury of the season. he had two goals and three assists in 10 games this season.

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Savard leaves with leg injury

01.07.10 at 7:18 pm ET
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Bruins top line center Marc Savard had to be helped off the ice just 28 seconds into Thursday’s game with Chicago at TD Garden with an apparent right leg injury.

The injury happened on his first shift of the game in the offensive zone. Marco Sturm and Mark Recchi had to help him skate to the Bruins bench, where he immediately made his way to the dressing room with assistance from Bruins training staff.

Eight minutes later, the Bruins announced he would not be returning to the game.

Savard, like Lucic and Bergeron, has been bitten by the injury bug this season. Savard has played in just 28 games this year, compiling nine goals and 13 assists. He missed 15 games between Oct. 21-Nov. 20 with various injuries.

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