BOSTON -- Rookie defenseman Johnny Boychuk has been a thorn in the side of the Buffalo Sabres throughout this Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.
Monday night, he raised his profile among the Sabres even more when he flattened forward Matt Ellis as he tried to break out of the offensive zone at the 5:49 mark of the second period. Boychuk caught Ellis with his head down and just placed a shoulder right into his chest. Ellis left the ice woozily but returned later in the game.
After Boston took a 2-1 win Monday night on a goal by Patrice Bergeron in the third period, Boychuk talked about his hit, the game in general and the crowd at TD Garden in his first home playoff game as a member of the Bruins.
Q: Describe the hit.
Boychuk: It was more or less a 2-on-2 from the top of the circles on, and our forwards were coming back so I knew that even if I would have missed him our forwards would have been there to cover me up. It makes it easier when our forwards are backchecking like we did tonight
Q: You’ve done this before. Do you take pride in the hard-hitting style and giving the team energy?
Boychuk: Yeah, I’ll win any way possible. If you are not going to be a Bergy (Bergeron) and score all these goals, you have to do something else I guess.
Q: When you hit a guy that well and even though it is completely clean, do you kind of look around a little bit to make sure an arm doesn’t go up?
Boychuk: A little bit. But they don’t want to really take a dumb penalty -- especially when it is the second period and it is 1-1. You just have to not take stupid penalties and stay out of the box. I’m sure that is what they were thinking, because I would be thinking the same thing. I wouldn’t go after a guy because you could take a penalty.
Q: When you have a hit like that in a game like this and the fans really respond, do you get a charge?
Boychuk: Yeah. It gives the whole team a little boost, I think, and the fans like it. You can’t say more than that. Our fans were great tonight. You could hear them before the game chanting, even from the room. It was pretty loud out there.
Q: Is it what you expected?
Boychuk: I expected it to be pretty loud out there. With the marathon and the Red Sox game, it was probably pretty fun out there.
Q: Is that game pretty much the game you not only want to play, but have to play?
Boychuk: I think so. We were just trying to get pucks in deep. Well, most of the time. There was a couple times we turned the puck over. But for the most part we were trying to get pucks in deep and make sure to have good back pressure and try to get shots to the net. (Ryan) Miller played really well again. Both goalies. But we found a way to get at least two goals.
Q: Do you believe Mark Recchi is 42?
Boychuk: You can’t say more about that guy. He’s one of our leaders, one of our key players. Having him in the dressing room really helps us. You can’t tell that he is 42 the way he plays. He plays like he is 25. Unbelievable, that guy.