After weeks of uncertainty and watching your mates struggle on the power play, how does Marc Savard make his grand return?
At first, modestly. Three minutes here, three minutes there, and a little more time in the third period (including ice time in the last minute of regulation). And then, of course, comes the obligatory bad-angle overtime blaster past the flailing shoulder of Flyers goalie Brian Boucher.
Just like they drew it up, I’m sure.
To say I was excited won’t do the situation any justice, of course. I was beyond excited. I had actively rooted for Boston to draw Philadelphia and not Pittsburgh in the second round, exclusively because I was sure a series with these two teams could become classic. They seem to genuinely dislike each other, and whenever that exists, there’s no telling how incredible the games could be. And oh, they’re a hateable bunch. Scott Hartnell is a thug, Chris Pronger might just be a horrible human being, and is there anyone you’d rather see punched in the face than Daniel Carcillo?
So to start this soon-to-be-legendary series, Game 1 featured the Flyers scoring two goals in the second half of the third period to send it to overtime, and the Bruins answering at the beginning of overtime with, as Jack Edwards would say, bees in their bonnets.
They came out and peppered Boucher. They were relentless. Mark Recchi singlehandedly generated three scoring chances on one drive, Miroslav Satan thought he had another game winner, and Patrice Bergeron, who hasn’t lost a battle in the corners in a year and a half, it seems, was feeding the puck to waiting snipers left and right.
The Bruins had played well all night, but this overtime was something else. It might’ve been their best 10 minutes or so of hockey all season. And it was punctuated by the golden goal of a returning hero, back just in time to breathe new life into the Bruins’ Stanley Cup chances.
Did you read that? It’s no longer completely ridiculous to say “Stanley Cup” in the same sentence as “Bruins.”
The most recent image of Savard, motionless on the ice after a gutless hit from the gutless Matt Cooke, has been replaced by that of Savard screaming and smacking his stick against the ice in exhaulted joy, streaking towards the fans behind the glass, only to be mobbed by his equally enthralled teammates.
God Save Marc Savard.