What if Savvy failed the neuro-psych test?
Marc Savard is back, and he's back big.
Less than two full months after getting his brain scrambled by Matt Cooke, Savard put a Hollywood finish on game 1 against the Flyers, scoring the overtime winner and nearly blowing the roof off of the Garden in the process.
Before the GWG it was a mostly uneventful 15 minutes for Savard. He had just one shot on goal, and other than a couple of solid passes was rarely noticed on the ice. But it was the emotional lift he gave the team that allowed the Bruins to come out of the gate flying and open up a 2-0 lead in the first period.
As was to be expected the Flyers never quit, cutting the deficit to 2-1 on a Ryan Parent goal, and after Miro "The Hero" Satan made it 3-1 just four minutes later Chris Pronger made it 3-2, which was the score going into intermission.
When David Krejci made it 4-2 with 12 minutes remaining things looked all rainbows and butterflies for the Bruins, but some piss poor defensive coverage from (who else?) Dennis Wideman and Matt Hunwick allowed Philly to tie the game with just under four minutes left and send it to overtime.
If you missed any of overtime, shame on you. It was easily the best hockey of the playoffs, with Brian Boucher making God knows how many unreal saves and Tuukka Rask equaling him with a couple of his own. With the Bruins controlling the play it was setting up for Philadelphia to break the hearts of Bruins fans with a soft goal like we've come to expect as Bruins fans, but after a brilliant pinch by Dennis Wideman (yeah, really), Savard rifled a wobbling puck over the left shoulder of Boucher in a goal eerily similar to his game 6 winner in 2008 against Montreal.
The joy was evident in the faces of Savard's teammates after he scored the winner, with each one taking their turns individually congratulating Savard after the initial pig-pile. Savard said he felt stronger as the game went on, but I worry how he feels as we get deeper into the series. The adrenaline was no doubt flowing from the time Savard woke up yesterday, but the longer the series goes the more his conditioning will come into play.
Another factor to keep an eye on as the series goes on is the volume of shots on goal from each team. Boston will no doubt be able to get more close shots and second chance opportunities off Boucher than they were Ryan Miller. If the Bruins continue to eclipse 40-45 shots on goal each game, I don't think Boucher is a good enough goalie to steal a series. Also, don't underestimate the loss of Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne for the Flyers. Tuukka Rask had a very average game yesterday, and if he rebounds strongly in the coming games the Flyers might not have enough depth.