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Savard returns as Bruins bounce Bolts 8-1 @NHL

Marc Savard's return inspired the Boston Bruins to their biggest offensive night of the season -- even if he didn't contribute anything on the scoresheet.

David Krejci scored twice and had an assist as the Bruins routed the Tampa Bay Lightning 8-1 on Thursday. Savard made his season debut after missing 23 games because of post-concussion syndrome.

"He didn't look like he missed a beat," Bruins coach Claude Julien said of his star center. "I liked his game from start to finish and his stamina was great."

Milan Lucic, Dennis Seidenberg, Shawn Thornton, Michael Ryder, Mark Recchi and Blake Wheeler added goals in Boston's highest-scoring game of the season. Tim Thomas stopped 37 shots to improve to 13-2-1 -- Victor Hedman had the lone goal for the Lightning.

But all the talk was about Savard, who had no points and just one shot on goal in 15:45 of ice time.

"I didn't get anything tonight, but maybe my presence was enough," he told NESN afterwards. "The boys played a heck of a game."

His teammates were just glad to have him back.

"Great to have a guy like him coming back for him personally and for the hockey team," forward Patrice Bergeron said.

Steven Stamkos, tied for the NHL goals lead with Sidney Crosby with 21, was held without a goal for his fourth straight game. Stamkos and Martin St. Louis had combined for 7 goals and 7 assists in their last four games against Boston.

The Lightning looked nothing like the team that overcame a 3-1 deficit and won 4-3 in overtime at Toronto on Tuesday.

"Obviously its embarrassing to get beat like we did tonight and it stings," goalie Mike Smith said. "We have some work to do. I think it starts with the goaltending out and we have to hold the fort."

Krejci opened the scoring at 10:52 of the first period, rushing up the left wing and wristing a shot past Smith for his first goal since Oct. 30. Seidenberg made it 2-0 with his first goal of the season. He dropped his shoulder as if he planned to gun the puck around the boards from the red line, but instead fired a slap shot that beat a stunned Smith with 20 seconds remaining in the first period.

Lucic made it 3-0 at 6:48 of the second, before Hedman got Tampa Bay on the board when he converted a feed from Ryan Malone and ended another shutout streak by Thomas at 15:14 of the second. Thomas shut out Philadelphia on Wednesday night and leads the NHL with five.

"When you have momentum, you want to hold onto it because it is easy to lose," Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara said. "Between last night and tonight, we were able to put together two good games, but once you think you have it, that is when you lose it."

Shawn Thornton made it 4-1 after two, and Krejci, Ryder, Recchi and Wheeler scored in the third.

"Guys are not stupid," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "At some point, obviously they're still going, but they're not really going. They're off and it was just a fest for the other team."

Smith was pulled after giving up five goals on 21 shots and replaced by Dan Ellis.

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report

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