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Savard can do a lot more than score

by Shawn P. Roarke
BOSTON -- Boston's Marc Savard wanted to explain away his two-goal performance that turned the tide in Game 1 as destiny, suggesting it was in the stars.

Savard scored both his goals -- the game-winner in the second period and the final goal of Boston's 4-1 win against Carolina on Friday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals -- at the 7:21 mark.

"Seven's my lucky number," Savard said, referencing some astrology. "I was born in the seventh month, on the 17th day in 1977."

His coach was having none of this lucky-star explanation.

No, Claude Julien insisted that his No. 1 center deserved the two goals he scored because Savard is always so demanding of himself, insisting that he can be a difference-maker in any game as he was in Game 1. 

"He scored two big goals for us," Julien said. "I think he was an important factor in that. He's also a guy that we can rely on in other areas of the game."

Savard scored on both his shots -- a backhander on a rebound after Cam Ward stopped Phil Kessel's in the second period and a low screamer off Kessel's drop pass that beat Ward to the far post in the third -- and finished a plus-2. But he also was the lead guy on Boston's three power-play opportunities, playing a team-high 3:39 of extra-man time. Plus, he had had a big takeaway in the second period and took a team-high 20 faceoffs.

Those stats speak to the versatility of Savard. But his goals speak to his biggest contribution. He was brought to Boston three years ago to give the Bruins a legitimate No. 1 line. He has delivered with 62 goals and 200 assists during his time in Boston. Now he is delivering in the postseason.

He has 4 goals and 7 points in Boston's five playoff games -- all victories. He also has the unwavering confidence of his teammates, who have seen this game-changing ability time and time again.

"Savvy came out (in the second period) with a big goal there to give us a little bit of a cushion and that is what you need in playoff time," said forward Michael Ryder, who scored Boston's third goal.

Rugged forward Milan Lucic has watch Savard work his magic for the two seasons he's been with the club. On Friday night, he saw it up-close and personal, joining the top line for the third period. Lucic was on the ice when Savard ripped Kessel's drop pass into the net, putting an end to the cardiac Canes' hopes of another comeback for the ages.

"He's been able to do that and he's been a key player for us all through the season and the first round and in Game 1 tonight," Lucic said. "We expect him to be just as good or better (throughout) the series."

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