Boston Bruins center Marc Savard
made it all the way back to the ice on Thursday night and played 15:45 of the Black & Gold's 8-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lighting.
Savard recorded one shot on goal and won five faceoffs along the way, but, true to form, was sarcastic about his not appearing on the score sheet during the B's offensive explosion.
"I think that’s the first eight goals the team has scored that I haven’t had anything on [the scoresheet]," said a cheerful Savard, postgame. "But I kept telling Claude [Julien] I was a presence tonight.
"I felt good, obviously had some shifts where I felt a little tired and as the battles wore on...[but] it was great to be back."
Especially great was the reaction from the sold out TD Garden crowd.
"The fans were fantastic. I got a little emotional there," added the center of the standing ovation he enjoyed during a first period media break. "It was a little tough to go out on that shift there, but it was special."
Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien was pleased with the All-Star's effort in his first game back.
"I thought he was good," said Julien. "He looked like he didn’t miss a beat.
"His hands were still there, as you could see, and his skating was very good."
Julien made sure to credit those people behind the scenes who made Savard's successful comeback possible.
"This is where you got to stand up here and you give credit to -- first of all -- the medical staff for doing a good job with him, but [also the] strength and conditioning coach really got him going in right direction right off the bat," said Julien. "And then our coaching staff took over afterward and really pushed him hard.
"To me, he looked like a guy who was in really good shape and had good stamina.
"I liked his game from start to finish," he said.
Savard, who returned from a concussion to play in last spring's playoffs, but battled symptoms related to post-concussion syndrome, talked about the adjustment from practice to NHL play.
"I mean, it’s been six months, so it’s been a long time," he said. "Shaking off a bit of rust, but you know, I felt I made some good plays.
"I felt there’s some stuff I can build off of, some things I can work on still, obviously...I had a little trouble as the shift wore on in our zone a couple times, but I felt good, I felt strong.
"I got in there a couple times, tried to bang around, didn’t really move anybody, but it was a lot of fun tonight," he said.
Savard, who went public about his symptoms earlier this fall, also reflected on the healing process.
"It’s been a long road, that’s for sure and I owe a lot of thanks to a lot of people," said Savard. "Everybody who’s helped me out along the way, they don’t understand how much they’ve helped me.
"The fans, too. Just tonight, to top it all off, they were wonderful and that was one of the reasons I chose to stay here and hopefully we can reward the fans back with a long playoff run."