"He got hurt when he crashed into the boards and I think everybody saw that, so right now he wasn’t able to come back and from what my trainers have told me," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following the game.
It's good news, though, that when the Bruins reported to Ristuccia Arena on Friday morning before jetting off to Long Island, that the Bruins' blueliner was at the rink.
According to Julien, the defenseman was "feeling better" and deemed "day-to-day." He was "more than likely" going to make the trip to Long Island on Friday afternoon, as the Bruins get set to face the New York Islanders in their third game in four nights.
The exact injury is unknown but Boychuk's final shift of the
Just day to day. He’s here today, feeling better so we’re going day to day with him. - Claude Julien, on Johnny Boychuk
game ended 5:21 into the second period. He played just 2:01 in that frame before leaving the bench.
In his absence, Boychuk's normal defense partner Zdeno Chara mostly partnered with Adam McQuaid and the five remaining D shared the minutes load.
"Well, it’s gutsy; any time you play two and two [back-to-back]," Julien had said Thursday night following the win. "I don’t know how many people realize how tough that game was in Pittsburgh. You come back and you play a team that’s fresh and then you’re cut down to five D’s because you don’t have a choice; it was hard."
"And that’s why, I have to be realistic here and – although we all look for perfection from the outside – you also have to be realistic and I think our defensemen did a great job of battling through and some of those guys are basically first year players, when you look at [Torey] Krug and even Dougie Hamilton; not a ton of experience. So we had to gut it out and we did."
"We felt it, minutes wise," said Dennis Seidenberg, who logged 25:25 in ice time, behind Chara at 29:45. "A big difference from 6 to 5, a lot less rest. But it was good, it was a high-paced game for us."
McQuaid logged a season-high 20:23, with Krug being out on the ice for 18:54. Hamilton picked up plenty of minutes in Boychuk's absence, logging 15:24, just one second shy of Seidenberg, with whom he was mostly paired.
"I think most guys, the more you play, the better you are," said Krug. "Guys responded well, Dougie played huge minutes for us. Zee obviously, being who he is, was awesome for us once again. Seids, Quaider, all stepped up. So sometimes the more you get on the ice, the better you are. I think our D responded with that."
"We didn't want to lose three in a row in a back-to-back and three of four, so it was tough for the whole team I think," said Seidenberg. "It was a good game for us to get out of a funk and battle through it."
Eriksson Passes Exertion Test
With Loui Eriksson out indefinitely with a concussion since October 23 in Buffalo, when he received a headshot from John Scott, Julien offered good news on Friday morning regarding the winger.
"Still doing okay. As predicted, he’s taken some steps in the right direction here," said the bench boss.
Eriksson passed the exertion test and has been able to start working out.
"So that’s still a day to day process and whether he keeps moving forward or whether we have to hold him back, we’ll only know one day at a time."
The NHL's Department of Player Safety held a hearing with Scott on October 31, and the Sabres forward was suspended for seven games for an illegal check to the head of Eriksson. Scott had already served three games of the suspension while awaiting an in-person hearing.
Who Gets the Start on the Island?
Tuukka Rask played the back-to-back games in Pittsburgh and back home against Anaheim, splitting the decisions.
Though Rask has a day of rest on Friday, Julien hasn't yet decided who will get the call in goal on Saturday night against the Islanders.
Chad Johnson has only started one game this season, earning the 5-2 win in Buffalo on October 23 in his first game as a Bruin. The netminder made 14 saves en route to the victory. Saturday could be an opportunity to get him more playing time early in the season.
The B's schedule spaces out next week after Saturday's game, with Dallas, Florida and Toronto all coming to Boston.
"We’re going to see. Obviously Tuukka’s played the last two games, he gets a break today, and Chad’s out there right now [skating]," said Julien, while the B's held an optional skate prior to leaving for New York. "So if we decide to go with him, we have to make sure that he’s ready, so I haven’t made that decision yet."
With the Bruins coming off a back-to-back, the team held an optional practice with the minute-loggers and top-six forwards staying off the ice.
The Merlot Line of Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton all hit the ice, along with current third liners Carl Soderberg and Ryan Spooner, who played in his fifth career NHL game Thursday night, earning his first point off an assist on Soderberg's first NHL goal.
Healthy scratches Matt Bartkowski and Jordan Caron also joined the skate, with Chad Johnson the only goaltender on.
Saturday marks the B's first meeting with the Islanders this season. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. ET, on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub.