Johnny Boychuk played in the Boston Bruins organization for six seasons, but on Thursday night, the defenseman returns to TD Garden a member of the New York Islanders.
The Islanders acquired Boychuk in a trade with the Bruins on Oct. 4 and the team immediately reaped benefits by placing the 30-year-old on the point with the first power play unit. Boychuk scored a goal and added two assists in a memorable Islanders debut against the Carolina Hurricanes and currently leads the Islanders defense with six points (2G, 4A) in six games.
With the Islanders looking to rebound from two consecutive losses, Boychuk said the team needs a strong showing against the Bruins, a perennial contender in the Eastern Conference.
“It's going to be a tough game,” he said. “[The Bruins are] a good team and have been for quite some time. There are things that they do that there's no telling what's going to be coming. It just comes down to execution and how we play.”
Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano expects Boychuk and goaltender Chad Johnson, who both played for the Bruins last season, to add a spark to the Islanders locker room.
“When you go back and play against your old team, you always have a little bit of jump,” he said. “To me, we’re playing against a team that everybody’s picked to get back to the dance and be Eastern Conference champs, and it’s a great test for our hockey club.
The Islanders played both losses without forward Mikhail Grabovski, who the team placed on injured reserve, retroactive to Oct. 16, on Wednesday after suffering a concussion in a game against the San Jose Sharks.
Additionally, the Islanders placed forward Colin McDonald on waivers today in order to make room for Anders Lee who started the season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Defenseman Thomas Hickey plans to be in the lineup against the Bruins after being cut by a skate to the face in the game against the Maple Leafs on Tuesday. Hickey plans to wear a face shield for added protection for at least the game in Boston before reevaluating the injury, but simply called the incident a freak accident.
“I've been playing hockey without a cage since I was 16, so in nine years it happens once,” he said. “That's a lot of games, so your odds are pretty good.”
The Bruins enter the game riding a two-game winning streak, including a 4-0 shutout against the Buffalo Sabres and a 5-3 comeback win against the Sharks.
Centers David Krejci (2G, 4A) and Chris Kelly (1G, 5A) lead the team with six points apiece and both bring four-game point streaks into the game (Krejci: six points, Kelly, five points).
The Bruins are anchored by Tuukka Rask, the reigning Vezina trophy winner for the league’s top goaltender. Rask currently holds a 3-3-0 record with a 2.90 goals-against average and a .880 save percentage, but turned away 31-of-34 shots Tuesday night against the Sharks.
The puck drops in Boston at 7 p.m.
|New York Islanders |
4-2-0 (8 points – T-2nd in Metropolitan Division, T-3rd in Eastern Conference)
|Boston Bruins |
4-4-0 (8 points - 5th in Atlantic Division, T-3rd in Eastern Conference)
|7:00 p.m. |
Television: MSG PLUS
Play-by-play: Chris King; Color: Butch Goring
Radio: WRHU 88.7 FM, LI News Radio 103.9 FM
Play-by-play: Greg Picker; Color: Julien Coltre
|Islanders News: |
- Islanders Introduce New Ownership Partners (Oct. 22)
- Isles TV: Ownership Press Conference (Oct. 22)
- Isles TV: Jon Ledecky/Scott Malkin Scrum (Oct. 22)
- Anders Lee Recalled; Grabovski to IR (Oct. 22)
|Islanders player to watch |
Johnny Boychuk - Forward
Johnny Boychuk returns to TD Garden in Boston as a New York Islander after playing in the Boston Bruins organization for five seasons. Boychuk scored a career-high 23 points (5G, 18A) with the Bruins last season and already has six points (2G, 4A) in his first six games as an Islander, including a three-point debut (1G, 2A) in the Islanders season opener. The 30-year-old defenseman has five power-play points this season for the Islanders, doubling his career total with the Bruins.
|Bruins player to watch |
David Krejci - Forward
David Krejci is tied for the Bruins scoring lead with six points (2G, 4A), despite missing the first three games of the 2014–15 season recovering from an injury suffered in the preseason. The 28-year-old center takes a four-game point streak (2 G, 4A) into tonight's game. Krejci led the Bruins in points (69) and assists (50) last season and has recorded at least 62 points in four of his seven NHL seasons. In 509 career games in the NHL, the Czech Republic native has 384 points (112 G, 272 A).
|New York Islanders previous game lines |
89 Cory Conacher – 91 John Tavares – 21 Kyle Okposo
86 Nikolay Kulemin – 29 Brock Nelson – 15 Cal Clutterbuck
12 Josh Bailey – 51 Frans Nielsen – 18 Ryan Strome
17 Matt Martin – 53 Casey Cizikas – 13 Colin McDonald
2 Nick Leddy – 55 Johnny Boychuk
14 Thomas Hickey – 3 Travis Hamonic
44 Calvin de Haan – 37 Brian Strait
41 Jaroslav Halak
30 Chad Johnson
|Boston Bruins previous game lines |
17 Milan Lucic - 46 David Krejci - 53 Seth Griffith
63 Brad Marchand - 37 Patrice Bergeron - 18 Reilly Smith
23 Chris Kelly - 34 Carl Soderberg - 21 Loui Eriksson
20 Daniel Paille - 11 Gregory Campbell - 12 Simon Gagne
33 Zdeno Chara - 27 Dougie Hamilton
44 Dennis Seidenberg - 47 Torey Krug
43 Matt Bartkowski - 54 Adam McQuaid
40 Tuukka Rask
72 Niklas Svedberg