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.’