BOSTON, MA --
Off the ice, Johnny Boychuk
might be the nicest person you'd ever want to meet.
|Boychuk celebrates with Caron & Marchand |
But put him on a rink and you'll see a different side of the always-smiling, happy-go-lucky Edmonton-native. And if you are an opposing player, when those friendly blue eyes go the color of cold steel, it ain't pretty - unless you're a Bruins fan.
Case in point: Boychuk's double barrell attack on Buffalo on Thursday night.
After the B's defenseman's shot was blocked and made its way to Tomas Vanek, who fed a streaking Jason Pominville for Buffalo's go-ahead goal in the first, Boychuk was driven to make amends and would share the Bruins lead with four hits and four shots.
Then, with the game tied 1-1 at 9:43 of the 3rd, Boychuk put Vanek in his sights
and flattened the Bruins-killing Sabres forward with a thundering check that put the TD Garden crowd on its feet.
"I just wanted to make sure it was a clean hit," said Boychuk. "The fans gave us a little boost and we took it from there."
Just over three minutes later, Boychuk found himself with a clear view and fired a bullet
that eluded the pads of Buffalo backstop Jhonas Enroth and put the B's in the lead late in an important divisional matchup.
"You see the play developing and I know Patrice [Bergeron] is good defensively," said Boychuk of his pinch to the puck. "So if I go down and get that puck I know he’s going to be backing me up.
"It was just like a scramble play," he explained. "I saw the puck coming through and I just decided I’ll go down and try to rip it home.
"I hit him in the belly a couple of times and one went through him so you know, I tried to just put it on top."
The pivotal play put the B's on top for good and gave Boston its first consecutive victories since January 10 and 12.
"It’s been over a month now so for us to string back-to-back wins together. It helps our confidence as a team because we have been playing real well the last couple of games, and stringing together a couple of wins here was critical for us," said Boychuk.
"You need secondary scoring to win games and we did that tonight and it helped us win."
Head Coach Claude Julien loved the effort from his defenseman.
"Well he’s been steady...all year long," said the B's bench boss. "A steady defenseman, a hard hitting guy, he has a great shot.
"I think he was a little disappointed on that first goal against that he got his shot blocked and gave the Sabres an opportunity to take the lead so he redeemed himself extremely well with his play the rest of the game.
"Good hits, great shot, good heads up play and he was a pretty solid defenseman for us tonight."