BOSTON, MA --
Afer almost 18 minutes of ice time during Game 1 on Thursday night, on Friday afternoon B's defenseman Johnny Boychuk
said he was feeling normal.
Head Coach Claude Julien thought he was better than normal.
"He played well and had a couple good shots from the point and I thought he was a real decent player," said Julien. "He didn’t 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 collided with Pittsburgh's Aaron Asham April 3 and missed the B's final two games of the regular season with a knee sprain, and admitted he was curious to see how his body would feel after last night's playoff opener in TD Garden.
"It’s not too bad," said the ever-smiling Boychuk. "Just like it did after the first couple practices – it’s the same thing."
But playoff intensity isn't the same thing as the regular campaign, and Boychuk said that although he was conscious of the injury, he "tried not to think about it."
That's not very shocking for a man referred to by some scribes as the B's version of Chuck Norris, thanks to a well-developed pain tolerance. However, even Boychuk was impressed with the Capitals efforts in the shot-blocking department in the series opener.
"We got a lot of shots on net," said Boychuk. "We just have to maybe get in front of [the Washington goal] or just find ways to put it in.
"It’s not like they blocked all of our shots," explained the defenseman. "We outshot them...[in] the first two periods.
"So, you just have to make sure to play on and score when you get those chances."
Forward Chris Kelly
buried the best of those chances at 1:18 of the overtime and Boychuk said there was a sense of relief when that puck hit the back of the net.
"It was awesome, it was just – well any time you win in overtime it’s such a relief, because we did play a really good game so to see him score that goal was – it felt great."
Boychuk also said that being part of the unit that allowed only one shot to Alex Ovechkin felt pretty good, too.
"You always take pride in trying to chip down the top guys," said Boychuk. "He’s a little different. He’s one of the best players in the world and anytime you shut him down you’ve done your job and we came out with a win probably because of that."
However, Boychuk also said that he and the B's blueline corps expect Ovechkin to bring everything he can muster to the ice on Saturday.
"Oh absolutely, we’re expecting that," said Boychuk. "We have to be ready for that."