Monday, April 19, 2010
By Joe McDonald
BOSTON -- The game is still tied at 1-1 after two periods, and despite the lack of scoring, the intensity has not wavered from either team.
The Bruins’ Johnny Boychuk made the crowd come off its feet early in the second period with a devastating open-ice check on the Sabres’ Matt Ellis.
Boston had just completed an offensive barrage on Sabres goalie Ryan Miller when Buffalo finally got control of the puck and started to transition out of its zone. Boychuk then stepped up and completely flattened Ellis. The Sabres’ winger got to his skates slowly and went to the locker room, holding his left shoulder.
Just to keep the fans at the Garden fired up, they kept showing the hit on the video board.
The Sabres already have an issue with Boychuk because they figure it was his “two-hander” that injured their regular-season top goal scorer Thomas Vanek in Game 2 last Saturday in Buffalo. Vanek missed the rest of that game and was scratched for tonight’s game.
Boychuk has been a very reliable defenseman for the Bruins this season, especially down the stretch with injuries to Mark Stuart (hand infection) and Dennis Seidenberg (forearm laceration).
"He certainly deserves the ice time the way he's played," said Bruins coach Claude Julien prior to the game. "All the extra work we did with him [this season] he did with a smile on his face. He enjoyed being here. He wanted to get better. His ear was open to all the coaching staff as far as trying to get better, and when he got his opportunity to get in as a regular he took full advantage of it."