Heatley, Sharks silence Senators (and their fans) with 4-0 win

Every once in a while, there’s a startling amount of symmetry between the NHL and the NBA. Maybe it’s because the two sports share the same basic workload (an 82-game regular season schedule, for one thing), but it still doesn’t change the fact that there are some interesting similarities.

During free agency, LeBron James took his time to make his choice (er, “The Decision”) to play with the Miami Heat while it seemed like it took all summer for Ilya Kovalchuk to become a member of the New Jersey Devils. Tonight might have been the best example of such symmetry, though, as Dany Heatley and James both went through similar experiences being heckled by fans who once embraced them.

The results will share that symmetry, as both of the two star players’ teams earned lopsided victories. While James made a more tangible impact by scoring 38 points, both Heatley and James made a difference in games that brought boisterous crowds to a hushed, stunned silence.

San Jose 4, Ottawa 0

Heatley earned an assist and drew two hooking penalties that ended up being San Jose’s first two goals (the team went 2 for 2 on the man advantage in this game), but he was far from the only Shark who stood out in this game.

Logan Couture scored twice while Patrick Marleau and Justin Braun provided those power-play goals. Antti Niemi looked like the goalie who helped Chicago win a Stanley Cup in this high pressure game, stopping 28 shots for crowd deflating shutout.

Pascal Leclaire was probably the brightest star in a dismal night for the Senators, helping Ottawa at least remain competitive by making 29 out of 33 saves.

They might have been bitter homecoming experiences, but Heatley and LeBron ended up being some of the only people leaving their returns with a smile on their faces.

Bruins pound Lightning 8-1 during Marc Savard’s return

Marc Savard received a standing ovation upon his return to the Boston Bruins. Perhaps his teammates deserved one, too, after they absolutely dominated the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight.

Boston 8, Tampa Bay 1

Another Bruins center who dealt with his own concussion problems ended up being one of the stars of the show, as David Krejci scored two goals and one assist while earning a +4 rating to help Boston dominate this game. Big Milan Lucic provided a nice night, too, as he scored one goal and added a helper.

Tim Thomas couldn’t earn a second shutout in a row, but I think he’ll settle for stopping 37 out of 38 shots for yet another win. It was a tough night for both of the Lightning goalies, though, as Mike Smith was pulled after allowing five goals and then Dan Ellis allowed three in a little less than a period of work.

Savard didn’t have much to do with the lopsided win as he (somehow?) wasn’t able to register a point despite the fact that the Bruins scored eight goals. Still, it was a moral victory in itself just to see the talented pivot back on the ice. He went 5-5 in the faceoff circle and took part in 21 shifts for a total of 15:45 minutes on ice. Don’t be surprised if it takes him a little while to get himself back up to game speed.

The Bruins won but so did the Montreal Canadiens, so Boston remains four points behind the Habs for the Northeast Division lead (they do hold two games in hand, though). Meanwhile, the Lightning are still in second in the Southeast as the Thrashers lost as well tonight.