Monday, April 7
April 7, 7:49 PM ET
Wing back after 50-game layoff
BOSTON -- One regular-season game after a 50-game layoff
following wrist surgery gave Sergei Samsonov the news he wanted:
He's ready for the playoffs.
The speedy, shifty wing said Monday there's soreness and
pain in his right wrist, but he's confident he'll play Wednesday
night in the Boston Bruins' playoff opener at New Jersey.
''I feel pretty comfortable going into the playoffs,'' he said
after practice. ''It's always hard to play the first game after not
playing for a long time and I'm happy to get it out of the way.''
Samsonov had a goal and an assist in the 8-5 victory Saturday over
Buffalo, the Bruins' regular-season finale. He played just eight
games this season but had five goals and six assists.
His return gives Boston a solid second line behind Joe Thornton,
Glen Murray and Mike Knuble. Samsonov plays with Jozef Stumpel and
''Today's our first or second practice where we practiced
together,'' Samsonov said. ''It always takes some time, no matter
who you play with.''
His style is different than that of any of his teammates. His
elusiveness and playmaking draw attention and create opportunities
for other Bruins.
''That brings back an option we haven't had all year,'' said
Knuble, who scored 30 goals as Samsonov's replacement on the first
line. ''That could be the missing link that we've missed all
Samsonov was the NHL rookie of the year in 1997-98 when he had
22 goals and 25 assists. He had 29 goals in each of the last two
''I'm happy I scored that goal (Saturday). It just gives you so
much confidence that you can still score,'' he said. ''I don't
think I'm 100 percent there yet.''
But that's fine with the Bruins.
''He's going to make a big difference whatever percentage he's
at,'' goalie Steve Shields said. ''It's a lot better than not
having him in the lineup.''
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