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He wasn't so quick on draw

Savard's miscues prove very costly

Bruins goalie Manny Fernandez was stretched to his limits, but still couldn't stop Canadien Mikhail Grabovski's wrist shot. Bruins goalie Manny Fernandez was stretched to his limits, but still couldn't stop Canadien Mikhail Grabovski's wrist shot. (PAUL CHIASSON/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

MONTREAL - Of the seven times Marc Savard stooped over to take a faceoff last night, the center only lost twice.

It just so happened that both losses came in the defensive zone, leading to Montreal goals.

"The faceoffs cost us the first two goals and changed the momentum of the game," said coach Claude Julien after the 6-1 loss. "We started backtracking and lost our composure."

In the first period, Savard squared off against center Saku Koivu. The Montreal captain won the draw cleanly, pulling it back to defenseman Mike Komisarek at the point. Manny Fernandez stopped Komisarek's shot, but Zdeno Chara couldn't clear the rebound nor slow down forward Christopher Higgins, who crashed the net and put the puck past Fernandez at 12:14 to give Montreal a 1-0 advantage.

In the second period, center Tomas Plekanec beat Savard cleanly. Winger Alexei Kovalev retrieved the puck and snapped a lightning-fast one-timer past Fernandez at 6:28 for the winning goal. Savard is now 50 percent in faceoff winning percentage this season.

"It's about all five guys," said Patrice Bergeron, who won 12 of his 21 faceoffs. "Yeah, it was a clean faceoff, but everyone on the ice has a job to do."

The Bruins lost a game in the faceoff circle before. Against Anaheim, David Krejci lost a defensive-zone draw to Ryan Getzlaf that led to defenseman Francois Beauchemin's winning goal

No decision yet

Despite reports from the Vancouver Province and Canadian Press that say otherwise, the Bruins have not made a final decision to keep Milan Lucic with the club for more than nine games.

General manager Peter Chiarelli said Lucic will play nine games, then the Bruins will decide the 19-year-old's future.

Yesterday, Lucic was reunited with David Krejci and Phil Kessel on the KLK line. Lucic had skated on the fourth line with Glen Metropolit and Shawn Thornton against the Rangers. Lucic said he's not dwelling on the nine-game mark.

"They haven't said anything to me," Lucic said before last night's game, his eighth as a Bruin. "Obviously I'll know after nine games if they're going to keep me here. I'm not looking too far ahead. There are two more to be played. I'll try to play them like I have the last games."

Last night, Lucic skated 13 shifts over 11 minutes 38 seconds. He threw a game-high five hits and recorded one takeaway. Lucic's ninth game will be Thursday against Chicago at TD Banknorth Garden.

Line items

Because of Montreal's balanced attack, Julien didn't use his two-way line of Bergeron, Marco Sturm, and Glen Murray against the Canadiens' top scoring threesome of Higgins, Koivu, and Michael Ryder. Instead, Julien attempted to counter Koivu's line with his top defensive pairing of Chara and Aaron Ward . . . Every Bruin except Lucic, Peter Schaefer, and Mark Stuart recorded a shot against goalie Cristobal Huet . . . Chara, who had only three blocked shots all season, recorded four last night. Before the game, Julien said Chara's low number of blocked shots could have been a function of the Bruins spending less time in their zone. Not the case last night . . . Last night was ex-Bruin Bryan Smolinski's 1,000th career game.

Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at FShinzawa@globe.com.

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