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Where does Savard fit when he returns?

04.22.10 at 1:39 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — The Bruins had a meeting and workout day at Ristuccia Arena on Thursday before heading to Buffalo for Game 5 on Friday night. Players who did not play in Wednesday’s double overtime Game 4 worked out on the ice, including Marc Savard as he makes his way back from a Grade 2 concussion.

“Same as normal, skated with the guys a little bit and tomorrow I will be skating with the guys again so it is positive, for sure,” Savard said.

Savard had a doctor’s appointment this morning to determine if he was ready for contact but said in the locker room that he had not heard back from about his status. Regardless, Savard will not be taking many hits when he does return to the full team practice as battle drills are typically suspended in the playoffs to keep players as fresh as possible.

“I hope to know this afternoon. There is not going to be much bumping in practice from here on in,” Savard said. “You know, tomorrow I think I am cleared to start doing some of that stuff. Some little bumps and stuff and gradually getting back into it.”

An interesting question has arisen with the daily Savard Watch — which center gets bumped from the rotation in Savard’s eventual return? It probably will not be against Buffalo but if the Bruins can put away the Sabres the reality that Boston has five good centers for four spots.

Bergeron and David Krejci are going to continue to man their respective lines. Vladimir Sobotka has been a spark plugged since getting regular time starting at the beginning of March and has really helped the games of the struggling Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder since he was paired with them in the final weeks of the regular season. With Savard coming back the natural thing would be to put Sobotka on the fourth line and sit either Steve Begin or Shawn Thornton. If Thornton sits, which would be likely in that situation, Begin would go to the wing and Sobotka would be the center but the fourth line would mean reduced minutes for the center and Boston benefits from having him on the ice.

It is a good problem to have but one that will need to be addressed when (if) Savard comes back.

Outside of Savard, there was not much else cooking around the Bruins in Wilmington. A couple meetings and a few players wandering in and out of the dressing room. Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara both gave the “one game at a time” routine and how hard it will be to close out the Sabres in Game 5 at HSBC Arena.

“It is always tough to play in Buffalo. The fans really get into it and they are really going to be going hard, we all know that so we have to be focusing on our game and be ready,” Chara said.

Boston was on the opposite end of the three games to one playoff spectrum last year after winning the first and dropping the next three to Carolina in the conference.

“We’ve been in their situation before so we know how hard it is to win that fourth game,” Chara said.

Read More: David Krejci, Marc Savard, Patrice Bergeron, Vladimir Sobotka

Claude Julien press conference

04.22.10 at 1:22 am ET
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Bruins coach Claude Julien speaks to the media following his team’s 3-2 overtime victory over the Sabres. The Bruins have a 3-1 series lead heading into Buffalo for Game 5 on Friday night. Julien spoke on a variety of subjects, including Miroslav Satan, Tuukka Rask, what he told his team going into the second overtime period, and how difficult the next game will be.

Read More: Claude Julien, Miroslav Satan, Tuukka Rask,

Inside the B’s locker room

04.22.10 at 1:15 am ET
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Miroslav Satan, Tuukka Rask, David Krejci and Dennis Wideman react to their team’s 3-2 overtime win over the Sabres. The Bruins will travel to Buffalo with a 3-1 series lead.

Read More: David Krejci, Dennis Wideman, Miroslav Satan, Tuukka Rask

Boston storms back to take Game 4 in double overtime

04.21.10 at 10:46 pm ET
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Summary – The Bruins took a dominating lead in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal playoff series against the Sabres with a 3-2 win at TD Garden on Wednesday night. Miroslav Satan scored the game winner for Boston in double overtime. Tuukka Rask took the win for Boston while Ryan Miller got the loss after giving away a 2-0 lead in the third period. The Bruins now lead the series 3-1 heading into Game 5 in Buffalo on Friday.

Boston entered the third period trailing by two goals but fought back in the first six minutes of the period to tie it. David Krejci got the first for Boston eights second into what was its fourth power play attempt of the night when he put a rebound off a Matt Hunwick shot from the high slot passed Miller at 2:07. Patrice Bergeron would then tie it when he got a bouncing puck coming off Daniel Paille’s stick from behind the net for the one-timer on the circle that Miller could not corral at 6:40.

For the fourth consecutive game, the Sabres got on the board first with a strike within the first 10 minutes of the first period. This time, the goal came at a relatively early 2:12 off the stick of Tim Kennedy when he found a bouncing puck loose in the slot in front of Rask and rushed for the slap shot that the net-minder had no chance at to make it 1-0.

Buffalo took a 2-0 lead at 6:59 in the second when former Bruins Steve Montador lined up a slap shot on the right point in such a precise manner that it would have to travel through a series of players in front of Miller to find the net. The puck had eyes ‘€” it deflected off a Boston defenseman and went through the skates of Paul Gaustad camped out in front of Rask. It was Montador’s first goal of the playoffs.

Three Stars

Miroslav Satan — The Bruins forward got the game-winner in double overtime.

Patrice Bergeron — Scored the game-tying goal in the third period off a shot similar to his Game 3 winner except from the other side.

David Krejci — Got the Bruins on the board when his astute play in front of the net on the power play resulted in a rebound strike to beat Miller.

Turning Point — Boston got broke the power play seal after three misfires to cut the Sabres lead in half in the third period. Mark Recchi pushed the puck from the right slot to Hunwick who waited for two stick-handles before sending the puck on net, getting tangled near the skates of Bergeron before bouncing out to Krejci who side stepped and put it in an open net to make it 2-1.

Key Play – Tuukka Rask had a flying leap on a Michael Grier shot a little more than halfway through the third period on a play where he was way out of position on the other side of the crease.

Read More: Buffalo Sabres, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Paul Gaustad

Second period summary: Bruins vs. Sabres – Game 4

04.21.10 at 8:42 pm ET
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With all the face washing that Milan Lucic has been doling out this series, it was about time that one of the Sabres officially dropped the gloves for a traditional hockey fight against the hulking young forward.

It was captain Craig Rivet that did it for the Sabres, getting tangled with Lucic on top of the right circle in Buffalo’s defensive zone. It was not one of the fights that either will write home about but a couple good punches were thrown and sweaters were clutched but no take down was registered as the officials broke it up after the pair had floated the the far side of the zone.

Just like in Game 2, the Sabres would take a 2-0 lead though this time around the second goal game in the second period. Former Bruin Steve Montador lined up a shot from the right point that had eyes through to the net that was helped along by an especially good screen by Paul Gaustad and a deflection off a Bruin defenseman at 6:59.

Boston’s best chance to cut into the lead came when Mark Recchi and Lucic found themselves on a breakaway with only defenseman Toni Lydman in near of them in before Ryan Miller. Recchi skated down the slot and was tripped by Lydman but was still able to get the puck on net while sliding down the ice, giving Lucic a chance for the rebound. Miller stood like a brick wall and stopped it all and Lydman was sent to the box.

Boston could not convert anything on the man-advantage and are 0 for 3 on the game on the power play.

After initially outshooting Boston seven to three after 10 minutes in the period, Boston came back to tie the game again at 16 shots apiece heading into the third.

Read More: Craig Rivet, Milan Lucic, Paul Gaustad, Steve Montador

First period summary: Bruins vs. Sabres – Game 4

04.21.10 at 7:52 pm ET
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Well, it did not take too long for Cody McCormick to make his presence felt in this series.

Tim Kennedy scored 2:12 into the game to make it the fourth straight contest in which the Sabres have scored the first goal. The strike came on a broken play after a Johnny Boychuk ht behind Tuukka Rask’s net knocked the puck loose which touched Tyler Ennis on its way to bouncing loose and free in the slot where Kennedy rushed in for a quick one-timer that Rask had no chance at for the 1-0 lead. McCormick was in on the play and got the secondary assist in his first shift of the playoffs for the Sabres.

The Bruins got the first power play of the game at 12:33 after Vladimir Sobotka leveled a big hit on Tim Kennedy on the half wall to the left of Rask that Kennedy did not take kindly to. Kennedy got in Sobotka’s face and delivered a horizontal stick to the center’s mouth that the officials did not think was all that friendly and Kennedy went for the two-minute timeout at 12:33.

Boston battled itself through much of the first period, losing face offs and battles for the puck and the man-advantage was no different as the set plays could not lead to shots that got through traffic to Ryan Miller and were cleared numerous times to help the Sabres kill.

The second Boston power play of the night was not efficient either after Andrej Sekera made a two-line back pass turnover through the neutral zone that Blake Wheeler tracked down on a mini break down the left wing, closing in on Miller. Buffalo’s Craig Rivet had no choice but to hold Wheeler and went to the box for his indiscretion.

Milan Lucic negated the last 24-second of that power play when he smushed defenseman Henrik Tallinder into the boards at 16:51 which would in turn lead to the Sabres first man-advantage of the night. With each team’s penalty killing units (or corresponding ineffective power plays), the Bruins killed it.

The man-advantages stopped the momentum from completely shifting in favor of the Sabres in the first and ultimately led to an equal distribution of shots in the contest as the teams are tied at eight heading into the second period.

Read More: Cody McCormick, Milan Lucic, Ryan Miller, Tim Kennedy

Julien: ‘Unrealistic’ to predict Savard return

04.21.10 at 2:30 pm ET
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One day after Marc Savard passed a neuro-psych evaluation and was cleared to practice with the Bruins, coach Claude Julien addressed the media Wednesday morning and tempered any enthusiasm about the center returning for the Sabres series.

“I don’t really have the answers on how far away,” Julien said. “He has been out for six weeks. He hasn’t been able to exercise or do anything. When you bring a guy back in the playoffs you have to make sure, for his sake number one, that he’s ready to jump in, and he has got to be in shape to keep up with that pace. The other part is that passing that test that he can start skating and doing different things but he still has to go through different kinds of tests. He hasn’t taken any contact yet. You know, for me to stand here and predict that he will be back at this stage would be unrealistic.”

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