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Bruins' Boychuk has playoff scoring touch

by Matt Kalman

BOSTON -- When you're as prolific a Stanley Cup Playoff scorer as Johnny Boychuk is relative to his regular-season production, you don't let a couple near misses discourage your aggressiveness.

So after the Boston Bruins defenseman was denied the game-winning goal twice Thursday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals by posts he hit at the end of regulation and in overtime, he buried one of his two shots on net past New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist in Game 2 Sunday.

Boychuk's goal at 12:08 of the second period stood up as the game-winner in the Bruins' 5-2 victory at TD Garden. Boston leads the best-of-7 series 2-0 with Game 3 Tuesday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN).

"It happens," Boychuk said of his shots hitting iron. "You've just got to come back and do the same thing. Well, not the same thing, but just correct your stick a little bit."

Boychuk has three goals in the playoffs this year, and nine goals in 54 NHL postseason games. In 246 regular-season games, he's scored 14 goals, including one this season in 44 contests.

However, he's not much for dissecting why the postseason has been kinder to his offensive game than the regular season.

"Just hitting the net," he said. "And sometimes it's luck. Just getting shots on net and hitting the net. You have a better chance to score when you hit the net."

A couple of times in Game 1 it looked like Boychuk would join three of his fellow veteran defensemen -- Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Wade Redden -- on the shelf. Boychuk left that game briefly after the first shift, and later in the overtime victory left the rink area for a short time. He returned just in time to create those scoring chances that hit the posts.

"It's playoffs. You've got to keep going and you can't be worried about it. You just do whatever you can for the team," he said.

He knows he can't sit out because though it might hinder the Bruins' chances, there also could be someone waiting to steal his job the way rookies Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton have done filling in for the banged-up blueliners.

"They've been amazing. They're making a case for themselves to stay in the lineup and that's what you need," Boychuk said. "You want to stay in the lineup, and the way that they're playing, they've been playing very, very good and responsible, and even in the D-zone I've been watching, they've been battling hard and doing the right things, and that's what you need."

Prior to Game 2, Boychuk joked about two days' rest between Game 1 and 2 being just what he needed. And he proved it in Game 2. In addition to his goal, he was credited with three hits and three blocked shots.

Through nine playoff games, Boychuk leads the NHL with 35 blocked shots.

"It happens sometimes where you can step up and block those shots," said Boychuk, who was second on the Bruins with 87 blocked shots in the regular season. "You want to do anything to help the team. If you're blocking the shots and playing well defensively, that just happens."

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