Johnny Boychuk will have a brace wrapped around his right knee for the foreseeable future, but the defenseman didnt miss much of a beat returning to the fold in Game 1 Thursday night.
Boychuk missed the last two games of the regular season with a sprained knee after colliding with Arron Asham in a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but played 17:58 of ice time in Bostons 1-0 win over the Capitals at TD Garden.
Boychuk blocked three shots, he threw out a pair of hits and looked comfortable dropped into a heavy, gritty game against Washington.
Hes good. He played well and had a couple good shots from the point and I thought he was a real decent player, said Claude Julien, who lives in a world where decent can be considered a compliment when discussing his players. He didnt look like a guy that missed any games. I was good with his whole play physically and moving the puck and everything that comes with his game.
Boychuk admitted he was curious how his knee might feel on Friday morning, but he said everything was hunky-dory.
Its not too bad. Its normal. It feels just like it did after the first couple of practices. I was curious to see how it would feel in a game because different plays could occur, but so far so good, said Boychuk. I was conscious of it, but it goes both ways. I was trying not to think about it.
So the Bs defenseman is officially off the injury list and healthy for all intents and purposes as the Bruins get ready for Saturday afternoons Game 2. Both Boychuk and Andrew Ference did a marvelous job locking down the Alex SeminNicklas Backstrom line in Thursday nights win, and thats exactly what will be expected of them moving forward.
Holding Washington to a measly seven shots through the first two periods was a bonus for the entire Bs defense, and shows the kind of stifling defense that might show up again the Caps over the course of the series.
The first two periods we held them under 10 shots. You cant say much more than that. Theyre one of the best offensive teams in the league, so it was obviously a good job by the D-men and the forwards, said Boychuk.
With Boychuk back, it now becomes a game of maintaining for a Bruins D-corps thats looking to stay healthy and stay together through the grind of the playoffs.