BOSTON — Sometimes when the adrenaline wears off, a player’s second game back from a lengthy injury absence can take more of a toll than the first.
Bruins center Marc Savard, who was the Game 1 hero against Philadelphia Saturday in his first game in almost two months after a severe concussion, knows that fact well. So he’s still taking a cautious approach even though he’d like to help his team as much as he normally would this time of the year.
“Obviously, each game I would like to try and contribute a little more,” he said on the Bruins’ off day today at TD Garden. “But I’ve got to be realistic again and just know when I’m feeling good. One game doesn’t make a season, and obviously it’s been a long season for me and I haven’t played a lot. I’ve just got to keep going and whatever comes my way just be ready for it.”
After skating for around 11 minutes through three periods, Savard was unleashed by head coach Claude Julien for more than four minutes of the 6:08 of overtime. That gave the bench boss a good indication that he’s player might be ready for an expanded role in Monday’s Game 2. But that doesn’t mean Julien’s going to ignore what he sees on the ice and in the time-on-ice column of the stats sheet.
“I think you’ve still got to keep an eye on that,” Julien said. “But I would say right now, a guy that played 15 minutes, more or less, in almost four periods, shouldn’t be that tired with a day off between games. Otherwise, those 10 days we’ve been working him hard didn’t do much for him. He should be fine. I think it’s a matter again of easing him in and seeing how he does. Again, if he keeps showing signs of a guy that has lots of energy and he’s playing well, why not use him more? And if you see signs of him getting a little tired, pull him back a little bit.”
One way to utilize some of Savard’s best attributes but limit the wear and tear is to play him on the wing. That’s where he was for three shifts of overtime, including the game-winning shift, next to Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi (even though those two hadn’t made it on the ice by the time the puck found the back of the net).
“It’s up to Claude. I’m comfortable anywhere, anywhere I can help,” Savard said.