stuhackel
Saturday November 20th, 2010

Concussed forward Marc Savard is making hopeful progress, but his return to game action is still a ways off. (Michael Tureski/Icon SMI)

By Stu Hackel

The Bruins' Marc Savard, who has yet to play this season after a recurrence of concussion symptoms, has been cleared by doctors to practice with the team. Blogging for the Boston Globe, Barbara Matson reports that Savard passed a conditioning test and was cleared to return to practice with the team and take part in non-contact drills.

"The 33-year-old center still needed to take several additional tests next week before resuming contact practice," she wrote. David Krejci, who also has been out with a concussion, has been skating and could return this weekend.

Things continue to go wrong for the Devils: Martin Brodeur has  returned home for medical treatment on his elbow after not finishing Thursday night's game in Toronto. Rich Chere of The Newark Star-Ledger reports that Brodeur tweaked the injury in the second period. "I'm concerned. I'm not scared of it," Brodeur said. "One-hundred percent I don't think it's something really bad. Maybe I have to sit out and come back when I'm fully healed." The Devils will play the Blues on Saturday.

Campbell update: We wrote about the NHL's PR offensive on the Colie-mail flap earlier today and as part of that, TSN has posted a lengthy interview with Campbell on their website (video).

Games to watch: The Sharks will be in Columbus on Saturday hoping to not blow a two-goal lead again and lose in OT as they have in their last two games. "Once, you think we would learn our lesson," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said (quoted by Mark Emmons of The San Jose Mercury News) after his team went down in Dallas. "But twice? This is unacceptable. We've got to find answers why this is happening. I don't get it. But for whatever reason, we can't close games right now."

Tonight, the West-leading Kings begin a four game road trip with a match against the Buffalo Sabres, who start a four game homestand. The Sabes are playing better in November and will bring captain Craig Rivet, a recent healthy scratch, back into the lineup to face a Kings team that's coming off consecutive losses for the first time this season. "He's got to bring a consistent physical game," coach Lindy Ruff said of Rivet (quoted by Mike Harrington, blogging for The Buffalo News. "That's the part that's been missing. Some of the play in his own end defensively, the tougher reads that have cost us goals, he has to clean up."

The Kings will have Jonathan Bernier in goal, and Harrington notes that this will be the 11th time in 21 games that Buffalo has faced the opposition's backup goalie. Ryan Miller against the Kings forwards should be a treat to watch.

The Rangers travel to Colorado where the Avalanche will try to win their third straight. The Avs are coming off a big comeback OT win against the Sharks on Wednesday. These teams played in New York last month with the Avs prevailing, 3-1. Peter Budaj continues in goal for the home team as Craig Anderson gets another game off after injuring his knee. Anderson will be the backup tonight. Steve Zipay of Newsday tweets that Derek Stepan will be back in the lineup and playing with Marian Gaborik and Alex Frolov.

On Saturday, it's always a treat when the Canadiens and Maple Leafs lock horns. Montreal is coming off a disappointing outing Thursday night, shut out 3-0 by a Nashville team that took advantage of a poor night by the Habs' top two lines and removed the Bell Center crowd from the game. That won't happen with the Leafs in town. Carey Price will start his 19th game out of 20 this season and Jonas "The Monster" Gustaffson will be in goal for Trana, who downed the Devils last night 3-1, their second win in a row.

Mark Zwolinski of The Toronto Star thinks there's some chemistry brewing between Phil Kessell and rookie call-up Nazim Kadri. The Habs have a call-up as well -- Yanik Weber, who's been there before but, Pat Hickey writes in The Montreal Gazette, he may get power play time in Andrei Markov's absence.

The Kings fly to Boston to face Tim Thomas and the Bruins Saturday and Thomas's numbers this year in goal are eye popping: a .959 save percentage, 1.37 GAA and four shutouts, all tops in the league. Milan Lucic had a hat trick Thursday night in the B's win over the Panthers and if he stays hot, Boston is going to be hard to stop. And two teams that don't much like each other will square off in Vancouver as the Blackhawks continue their six-game western journey against the Canucks. The Hawks play in Calgary tonight after shutting out the Oilers on Wednesday for their second straight win. Vancouver returns home from an eastern trip that saw them get 5 of 10 points, not as good as they'd like. It should be Marty Turco for the visitors, who is shouldering most of the goaltending load, against Roberto Luongo, who took a 3-1 loss on Wednesday in Pittsburgh.

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