On paper, it’s a solid score sheet for a young defenseman. On the ice, it looked even better.
Thursday night, B’s blueliner Johnny Boychuk
had what Head Coach Claude Julien called “one of his best games in a long, long time,” in the Bruins’ 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Boychuk, who had been a healthy scratch earlier this season, said Friday that his time in suit and tie helped him to step up his game as the Bruins look to finish off their season strong.
“Just focusing a little bit more and just probably using those games that I was watching just to learn,” Boychuk said of what he took from his time in the press box. “And to use it for some drive.”
Last night, Boychuk skated with Zdeno Chara
on the Bruins first defensive pairing, and brought his physical style of play to the TD Garden ice, something Julien said had been missing throughout most of the season.
“We really felt that was one of his best games in a long time. So that’s the Johnny Boychuk
we want to see and know that he can bring every night,” Julien said after the team’s practice in Ristuccia Arena on Friday.
“So hopefully that was the start of something good…I liked his physical play, I liked also, he brought the confidence and everything else he did. He was a really solid player for us last night.”
Boychuk also thought he found his physical play and thinks he has figured out the key to maintaining his strong presence without producing costly mistakes.
“You can’t really go looking for [the big hits]. They usually come to you and you’ll know when it’s time,” Boychuk said.
“If you do go looking for it, it usually turns up that the puck is in the back of the net or a scoring chance. So I try not to look for it, but if it’s there you take it.”
Coach Julien agrees with his 27-year-old defenseman’s assessment.
“You just have to let it happen," said Julien. "If you go looking for them you run out of position, if that’s all you’re worried about then you lose your focus somewhere else.
I think you just have to play the game."---Hannah Becker