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Saturday, May 7, 2011
Boychuk's timing is just right

By James Murphy

BOSTON -- With the game tied at one and the Flyers starting to gain momentum early in the third period, Flyers forward Claude Giroux laid out Patrice Bergeron with an open-ice hit as play shifted out of the Boston zone. Bergeron left the game and would not return. But instead of getting deflated watching one of their best players leave the game, the Bruins just kept going, and four seconds after Bergeron left at 2:42 of the final frame, defenseman Johnny Boychuk let a shot rip from the point that sailed past Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky for what proved to be the game-winning goal in the Bruins’ 5-1 series-clinching win at TD Garden.

“I didn’t really see him go off, but after that it was kind of just. As soon as we scored, everybody, we just started to go again. We needed that,” Boychuk said of scoring right after Bergeron left.

Boychuk said he was happy to help his team complete the sweep, something they were unable to do against the Flyers in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals when they blew a 3-0 series lead and lost in seven games.

“Oh it’s great. We were up three-nothing and we want to make sure that when we have that chance to close it off, we wanted to close it off and we did,” Boychuk said. “We had everybody going tonight and Timmy [Thomas] played excellent again for us obviously. And we got offense as well.”

Head coach Claude Julien recently switched Boychuk to the point on the power play, and while Boychuk’s goal in Game 4 didn’t come on the power play, it was a perfect example of why Julien has him working the point now on the man-advantage.

“Well obviously that was a big goal tonight,” Julien said of Boychuk’s game-winning blast. “It certainly lifted the whole bench. Johnny’s got a good shot and we know the success that he’s had in the American League in the past on the power play, but for a good portion of the season here, he didn’t seem to be able to find that range or find those opportunities to use his shots so that kind of took away some of his opportunities on the power play.

But we moved Patrice [Bergeron] up front and we certainly were looking for some plays down low, and Patrice [Bergeron] is one of those guys that can create those, but at the same time, we wanted to have a good shot from the point, so Johnny [Boychuk] fit that mold pretty good. ... He seems to have found, again, the range, and found those openings for him to use his shots in the playoffs more than he had during the regular season.”