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Thornton, Sobotka make way for Sturm, Begin

BOSTON  —  The Bruins welcomed their leading goal scorer back to action on Saturday night when Marco Sturm [1] strode onto the TD Garden ice against the Los Angeles Kings [2].

He missed the last six games with a leg injury, taking his 15 goals with him.

Steve Begin also returned after missing the last five games with a lower body injury. Shawn Thornton [3] and Vladimir Sobotka were healthy scratches to make room on the 20-man game roster.

Thornton, with just one goal in 50 games, and Sobotka (4g, 3a in 43 games) have been very disappointing in their production as forwards and the Bruins are in desperate need of a jump-start to their offense. Entering Saturday, they had an NHL-low 128 goals.

But some of the focus before the game was on those injured Bruins who recently returned – namely Patrice Bergeron [4] and Marc Savard [5].

“Patrice has been good for us all year,” Bruins coach Claude Julien [6] said. “It hasn’t been an issue at all with him. He’s been our most reliable player from day one.”

To Julien’s point, the Bruins are 15-5-3 when Bergeron scores or records an assist. Bergeron entered Saturday with 21 assists, second on the team to Zdeno Chara’s 25.

Savard returned on Friday after missing eight games with a knee injury. He had an assist in the 2-1 loss at Buffalo. The team is 11-3-1 when he records a point in a game.

“Unfortunately for Marc, he’s had a lot of injuries that have set him back, just haven’t given him a chance to build some momentum,” Julien said. “But I thought he played well for his first game [Friday] night.”

Some other tidbits from pre-game Saturday:

Milan Lucic [7] on getting a good start:

‘€œToo important. I think if you look back at the last game they got the first goal and we took a few penalties and that kind of put us on our heals. It would be nice to start out with a lead and try to build off that.’€

There was further foreshadowing when Lucic was asked about the need to capitalize on scoring chances as he missed an open net midway through the period that would have tied the game.

‘€œI felt like [Friday] and the two games before I was getting some scoring chances. It was nice that one actually went in and probably if I had handled it clean it probably would not have gotten it past the goalie.’€

Lucic on getting Savard back in the lineup:

‘€œIt was good to see him back. He has had a rough road this year, just like me. It is not fun sitting out and watching so I know he is excited to be back.

‘€œI think me and him we have created some chemistry the last two years so I think that helps a lot. He is an offensive threat and everybody is aware of him every time he is on the ice. He has to get back to full form in order to help us win tonight and I know he wants to be that guy.’€