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While there was plenty to cheer about during Saturday’s 5-4 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, in which the returning Marc Savard scored the game-winning goal, the Boston Bruins announced the end of Marco Sturm’s season on Sunday. Sturm went down in the opening minute of the playoff series after checking Flyer Matt Carle and was unable to make it to the bench on his own power. The German Olympian failed to return to the game and was later diagnosed with a torn ACL and MCL in his right leg, which will require surgery in 4-6 weeks and up to six months of recovery. This will be his second knee injury, having injured his left knee prior to the 2008-2009 season, during which he played in only 19 games.
Sturm, who led the Bruins with 22 goals during this past regular season, was held pointless during the Bruins’ opening round series against the Buffalo Sabres. The six-game series extended his scoring drought to only one goal and one assist in 23 games played, dating back to March 11, which happened to be a 5-1 victory over Philadelphia.
Shawn Thornton, who was a healthy scratch in the first game of the series to make room for Marc Savard, will likely return to the line-up and play on the fourth line with Steve Begin and Vladimir Sobotka. Begin, who scored after taking Sturm’s place on the first line with Mark Recchi and Patrice Bergeron, will be passed over in favor of the speedier Daniel Paille.
It’s hard to see a player who constantly gives 100% like Marco Sturm to go down with such a devastating injury, but Sturm has bounced back before, so, while we wish him a speedy recovery, we’re confident in his ability to return next season, the last in his current contract. In the short-run, losing Sturm is a bit of a mixed bag. While he failed to register a point in the opening series, his speed certainly created a number of scoring chances for his linemates. At the same time, Thornton’s return to the line-up will complete a punishing fourth line, whose interactions with Flyers like Dan Carcillo have the potential to be very interesting. The bottom line, however, rests with Paille. If he can work well with Bergeron and Recchi, whom he’s worked with extensively before, the Bruins offensive won’t suffer too much. If they fail to click, though, it could be a long series.