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Sturm scores twice, Savard celebrates new deal with one goal in Boston's win

BOSTON - It's been a busy week for Marc Savard.

A day after signing a seven-year contract extension that could keep him in black and gold for the rest of his career, the Boston forward scored his 200th NHL goal and Marco Sturm scored twice on Wednesday night to lead the Bruins to a 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"Signed a contract and gets his 200th goal," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "These things have a way of kind of happening."

Tim Thomas, making his second straight start since missing six games with an undisclosed injury, stopped 39 shots to give the Bruins their sixth victory in seven games. Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists, Mark Recchi had three assists, and Zdeno Chara had two assists to help Boston move back into first place in the Northeast Division.

"The expectation was so high. Us getting off to a slow start kind of threw everybody for a loop - fans, media," Julien said. "I think we're finding our game slowly."

Mike Smith made 35 saves for the Lightning, who lost for the fourth time in five games. Boston led 4-0 after two periods before Jeff Halpern scored Tampa Bay's only goal 1:27 into the third period.

"These games are kind of fun," said Thomas, who had a season high in saves. "You get into it when you're in a battle. That's really my kind of game."

Savard, who led the Bruins in scoring in each of his three seasons in Boston, missed 15 games because of a broken foot but returned on Nov. 23 and has a point in four straight games. He has five goals and six assists in his last 11 games overall.

He agreed to a seven-year extension on Tuesday that would bring him to his 40th birthday.

"It was a load off my mind, to tell the truth," Savard said. "I'd been thinking about it for a while, especially during the time off. That's when we really pressed to get it done. I know this is probably my last one. I wanted to stay in one city, so it's good to be able to do it here."

Savard gave Boston the lead 8:05 into the game, then the Bruins made it 2-0 when Chara took a shot from the point and Bergeron banged in the rebound with 5:57 left in the first period.

Sturm scored twice in 2:33 in the second period.

The Lightning gave Sturm an alley and he took a shot, then followed after the rebound when Smith let the puck drop to the ice at his right. Recchi came in and swatted at it, but it was Sturm who pushed it over the goal line to make it 3-0.

Sturm scored again minutes later when Recchi stole the puck from Andrej Meszaros along the boards and pushed it up to Bergeron, who crossed it to Sturm in the slot for the tip-in.

"We had some chances. We just didn't finish," Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said. "Smitty didn't smother the puck a couple of times. Those are the ones that will hurt you."

The Lightning ended the shutout bid with 18:33 left when Halpern scored on his own rebound. Tampa Bay had not scored in 107 minutes 46 seconds, dating to the third period of a 4-3 overtime loss to Dallas on Nov. 28.

NOTES: The Bruins assigned D Johnny Boychuk to Providence of the AHL for conditioning, and signed forward Max Sauve to an entry-level contract. ... Chara leads the Bruins with 15 assists. ... Tampa Bay was 0-for-6 on the power play. The Bruins are third in the NHL in penalty killing.



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