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Bruins' Savard meets Pens' Cooke for 1st time since hit on TSN2

Sports Network

1/10/2011 2:46:28 PM

(Sports Network) - Boston Bruins' forward Marc Savard will face Matt Cooke of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first time since Savard suffered a grade-two concussion as a result of a Cooke open ice hit last March.

You can see the game tonight on TSN2 at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt.

The injury caused Savard to miss almost two months of action, and he only returned for the Bruins playoff series against the Flyers.

Savard has not forgotten the altercation.

"It's obvious that it's something that's hurt my life for a bit and put me through some tough times," Savard told the Boston Globe. "It's not easy. It'll be on my mind, but at the end of the day, I'm just going out with my team and trying to get points."

At the time, the incident was widely debated but Cooke was not suspended for the hit.  It has been cited as one of the reasons the NHL adopted stiffer penalties for blindside hits this season.

 The Penguins have lost two straight, four of five and five of their last seven contests. Tonight, Pittsburgh will try to avoid its first three-game skid since Oct. 23-29.

Despite the current funk, Pittsburgh is just one point behind idle Philadelphia for first place in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.

Pittsburgh scored eight times in a blowout victory last Wednesday against Tampa Bay, but the Pens have managed just one goal in two outings since.

The Penguins dropped a 2-1 shootout decision Thursday in Montreal and were then dealt a 4-0 setback Saturday against visiting Minnesota.

It's hardly a coincidence that Pittsburgh's scoring drought has come while captain Sidney Crosby has been sidelined the last two games with what is being called a mild concussion. Crosby, who leads the NHL with 32 goals and 66 points, is expected to be sidelined for about a week and will miss tonight's contest.

Jose Theodore helped stymie Pittsburgh on Saturday, making 26 saves to notch his first shutout of the season and 30th of his career. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 33 shots in the losing effort for Pittsburgh.

"Tonight, we just didn't start on time and we didn't compete as hard as they did," said Penguins forward Mark Letestu.

Pittsburgh is 14-8-1 as the host this year, but the Pens have lost two of their last three in the Steel City.

The Penguins and Bruins have met once this year and Boston recorded a 7-4 decision in that encounter in Pittsburgh on Nov. 10. That victory ended a three-game losing streak in the Steel City for the Bruins, who have won twice in their last six tests against the Pens.

Boston has also lost two straight and four of its last five games. The Bruins were last in action Saturday in Montreal and were dealt a 3-2 defeat when Max Pacioretty scored with 1:17 left in overtime for the Canadiens.

Patrice Bergeron tallied both goals for the Bruins and Tim Thomas had 39 saves in the losing effort. Thomas is 7-4-3 with a 2.72 goals-against average in 14 lifetime games against Pittsburgh.

Fleury is 5-3-2 with a 2.23 GAA in 11 career games against Boston.