Marc Savard just wanted to focus on playing the Boston Bruins system in Game 1.
Playing in his first game in nearly two months, Savard instead ended up as the hero Saturday afternoon, scoring 13:52 into overtime to give Boston a 5-4 triumph.
"I didn't think this game would come this quick," Savard said. "I had a tough stretch of days, everybody knows. I'm just happy to be back with my buddies."
A 70-point scorer in four of the last five seasons, Savard suffered a Grade 2 concussion on March 7 when Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke delivered a hit to the forward's head. Savard attempted to come back for Game 6 of Boston's series against the Buffalo Sabres, but was not cleared to play.
"I'm a pretty intense guy and after the sixth week, I said, 'Okay, I'm going to make a comeback, boys.' The boys battled hard against the Sabres, I worked my butt off during the playoffs," Savard said. "I wanted to play Game 6, but I didn't get that chance. I got some extra days and here I am today."
Saturday, Savard celebrated his first goal back like he had netted a Cup-winning tally. With a massive grin on his face, the forward tapped his stick on the ice a couple times before leaping, throwing his twig in the crowd and getting mobbed by teammates.
Normally Boston's top center, Savard began Game 1 on the third line between Michael Ryder and Daniel Paille . But a first-period injury to Marco Sturm forced coach Claude Julien to shift his lines around. Savard ended up at the unfamiliar position of right wing alongside Boston's dependable duo of Mark Recchi and Patrice Bergeron .
"I got caught on the wall a couple of times tonight, and I made some good bump passes on the breakout and I was kind of used to it," Savard said. "They put me in that spot, and I guess they thought we could get a goal. Coach was right."
Was he ever.