BOSTON -- Bruins forward Marco Sturm suffered a right knee injury on his first shift during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday and will miss the remainder of the season.
"It's unfortunate news for our hockey club and certainly for him," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "He's battled through a major injury last year, and he was really looking forward to these playoffs."
Sturm suffered a torn ACL and a torn MCL and will require surgery within 4-6 weeks. His expected recovery time is around six months. Sturm also suffered an injury to his left knee last year and missed the majority of the 2008-2009 season.
Sturm had been struggling offensively and had scored only one goal in the last 23 games. To give him some sort of boost, Julien had him back on the team's top line with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi to start the second round of the playoffs against Philadelphia.
On Sturm's first shift of the game, he checked the Flyers' Matt Carle into the boards. Sturm immediately fell to the ice in pain and crawled a few feet before remaining still while play continued. Once play stopped, Bruins trainer Don Del Negro attended to Sturm, who needed to be helped off the ice.
"It hurt to lose him last night," Recchi said. "He's a good hockey player. He's fast and he's competitive. He's been a great guy for us all year. We'll miss him. We missed last night. He's a terrific player, and it's tough to see."
Enter Daniel Paille.
Even though Bruins forward Steve Begin played a couple of shifts on the top line and scored a goal after Sturm's injury, it was Paille who saw most of the ice time with Bergeron and Recchi.
"I was glad that he put me with them because playing with them is exceptional," Paille said. "Hopefully we can click a little bit. I try not to think; playing with them makes it pretty easy. I'm just trying to do the right thing, or the simple thing, and normally it's the right play."
"He's done a great job stepping into areas where we've asked him to go," Julien said. "He's played with almost everybody. He's been pretty versatile and adapted very well to different lines. Some lines are more defensive-minded, and other lines you have to create a little more offensively. His skating skill and his forecheck certainly helps in either situation."
Paille has played with Bergeron and Recchi plenty of times during the regular season, so it won't be that big of an adjustment for him.
"He's fast and he's a great skater and he creates a lot with that," Recchi said. "We've played together, so it wasn't a big deal at all."
When a team is battling in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, changes to a lineup are inevitable. It's also a point of the year when everyone should clearly understand the team's systems, so there are no surprises.
"We all know the systems," Recchi said. "Obviously, you have a little better feel for some guys than others, but you just go out and do your thing. I've played basically with everybody throughout the year on the other wing. You know what they're going to do, and you know what you're capable of doing and you go from there."
Julien is likely to continue to make changes during this series, trying to find the right line combinations in order to be successful. He'll have one fewer player to worry about with Sturm gone.
It was a difficult season for Sturm. He's dealt with injuries and scoring droughts. He recorded only 22 goals and 15 assists for 37 points in 76 games this season. Now his season is over, and the highlight of his year was scoring the winning goal in overtime of the Winter Classic on New Year's Day at Fenway Park against the Flyers.
Joe McDonald covers the Bruins and Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.