Center Marc Savard signed a seven year extension at $28 million that will keep him in Boston for the remainder of his career. Savard wasted no time showing fans he was worth every penny as he scored a first period goal, the 200th of his career, to put the Bruins up 1-0 en route to a 4-1 clobbering of the Tampa Bay Lightning that put Boston back on top of the Northeast Division. Tim Thomas stopped 39 of 40 shots in his second game back from injury, both wins, as Boston won for the sixth time in seven games. Marco Sturm scored two goals and Patrice Bergeron added one of his own as well as two assists, his first points since recording four assists in a 4-2 win at St. Louis on November 23.
After a slow, injury-marred start to the season, things have apparently gotten back on the right track. Finding offense has been a major issue this season as their 16.5% PP% through December 2 is good for 12th in the Eastern Conference, however during their seven-game hot streak their PP% is an improved 29.1%. Much of that can be credited to Savard’s scoring savvy. In the 15 games he missed with a broken foot, Boston was an anemic 5-of-44 (11.4%) on the power play.
Looking ahead, the Bruins are set to take on the cellar dwellers of the Northeast Division, traveling to the hated Habs on Friday and then returning home to play two games against another team north of the border, the Maple Leafs. With Buffalo facing a more difficult upcoming schedule (home games against the Canadiens, Rangers, and Devils), this would be a great opportunity for the Bruins to put some distance between them and their closest divisional challenger. Hopefully Savard gets an early start on his next hundred goals.