<
>

Rapid Reaction: Bruins 6, Avs 2

DENVER -- After a lackluster effort in a 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday the Bruins answered the bell in resounding fashion with a 6-2 thumping of the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. Rookie Brad Marchand led the way with two goals and two assists, while Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists, Mark Recchi had a goal and an assist and Milan Lucic lit the lamp twice. Tim Thomas made 31 saves to increase his win total to 23.

The Bruins now head to Los Angeles to face the Kings on Monday night before playing their final game before the All-Star break at home Wednesday against the Florida Panthers.

Everybody back on board –- Mark Recchi was critical of his team Friday following the 4-2 loss to Buffalo on Thursday night, saying to ESPNBoston.com, “We didn’t have everyone on board ... for us to succeed, we need everyone on board, no passengers.” It appears that his teammates listened, as it was all hands on deck Saturday with the Bruins playing a much more spirited and passionate game against the Avalanche. The Bruins were physical and moved the puck with more purpose.

Savard leaves game with head injury -– After sustaining a head injury last Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins but returning to the game, Marc Savard wasn’t as lucky in Denver, as he went head-first into the end boards behind the Avalanche net at 3:19 into the second period and was helped off the ice. The Bruins' star center, who missed the first 23 games of the season with post-concussion syndrome, did not return to the game. After suffering numerous concussions throughout his career -- including the one last March that led to the post-concussion syndrome -- one can only wonder how much more Savard’s head can take.

The Luchness Monster awakens -- After sitting out three games with an upper body injury recently, Milan Lucic admitted that he needed to play a better “north-south” game and drive to the net more. That’s exactly what he did Saturday, scoring two goals that way and being an absolute monster, physically, throughout the game. Lucic was skating hard the entire game, creating turnovers with his hits, and if he wasn’t motoring toward the net, he was parked in front of it -- just as a guy his size needs to be to succeed in this league. The Luchness Monster awoke in Denver on Saturday, and Bruins fans can only hope he doesn’t go into hibernation again for a while. Lucic now has 19 goals on the season and three goals in his past three games.

Rookie and veteran have chemistry -- Rookie Brad Marchand and veteran Mark Recchi continue to form chemistry while playing on the same line together. On Saturday, the two combined for two of Boston’s six goals. Marchand tipped home a beautiful feed from Recchi in front at 9:20 of the first period, and then the 22-year-old Marchand returned the favor to Recchi by finding the 42-year-old in front at 14:44 of the second period. Marchand also added another goal (empty-netter) and assist on Patrice Bergeron’s third-period goal. Recchi’s puck smarts and grit are clearly rubbing off on the young Marchand, who many had pegged as a fourth-line agitator and not the second-line sniper who now has 11 goals.

Bergeron getting hot again -- Not to be outdone by his linemates, Patrice Bergeron was back on the score sheet after going two games without a point. Bergeron had a goal and two assists Saturday, and his lamp lighter was a thing of beauty. Bergeron dove to keep the puck in play in front of the net, and while it appeared he was trying to pass it to Marchand at the post, he was able to back-hand it, bouncing the puck in off the skate of Avalanche defenseman John Michael Liles. Bergeron was his usual defensive self and also had seven shots on net.

Using defensive depth to his advantage -- Bruins coach Claude Julien had to make the tough decision of sitting defenseman Adam McQuaid when fellow blueliner Andrew Ference returned on Thursday. With Mark Stuart having returned one game prior to that, Julien went with the veteran presence of Stuart and Ference on Thursday even though McQuaid has become a dependable defenseman. It was a case of Julien using the depth he has and resting a banged-up McQuaid, as he told the media, because on Saturday, Stuart was the healthy scratch and McQuaid was back in. Julien is taking advantage of the depth he has on the blue line to give his rearguards the rest they need, and this could prove vital come playoff time.