VANCOUVER Johnny Boychuk probably doesnt need to be reminded that hes been on the ice for each of the last seven goals scored against the Bruins during the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The minus-1 on Boychuks ledger from Game 1 of the Cup finals might have been the toughest one for No. 55 to stomach. It was his error in both judgment and execution that led to the winning goal by Raffi Torres with only 18.5 seconds remaining on Wednesday night.
Boychuk attempted to step up and play the body on Vancouver center Ryan Kesler as things moved quickly to the Boston defensive blue line, and the Bs defenseman lost the one-on-one battle with the Canucks do-it-all center.
Kesler worked the puck along the side boards in a play very reminiscent of one that Patrice Bergeron has often pulled during his career with the Bruins. He slipped around Boychuk and fed a nice pass to Jannik Hansen, who set up Torres for the game-winning goal.
I was trying to push it back toward the neutral zone, but it didnt happen, said Boychuk. I dont know if it hit or it went back in, or what happened. All I know is he got the puck, hesitated to see if was offside and made the pass to score in the last minute.
The goal begs the question why Boychuk was on the ice with Zdeno Chara in the closing minutes of a Stanley Cup Final playoff game when the CharaDennis Seidenberg combo has been a key shutdown pairing during the playoffs. The final seconds of a game is exactly when Chara and Seidenberg should be suffocating Kesler and Co. and pushing for a decision in overtime.
Boychuk was aware he made a mistake in that situation, but he didnt feel like it had much to do with a slight tweak in defense pairings headed into the game.
I played with Chara for most of the year, so its not out of the norm, said Boychuk. Theyve played well together in the playoffs, but this was just to switch it up. I just go out there when Im told.
Milan Lucic on the hip check by Dan Hamhuis near the benches: "I went over. He got hurt on it. That's it."
Interesting that Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki popped up on the jumbotron to wish my man Hoff luck in the Stanley Cup Finals as the German superstar wished fellow countrymen, Christian Erhoff, well in the final series.
Got to wonder: Where the love is for fellow German Dennis Seidenberg, who is tearing it up in the Stanley Cup playoffs?
Bruins coach Claude Julien made some slight changes to the Bs power play with Chara camped down low and Tyler Seguin inserted into the man advantage for a bit of a different look. But neither of those things worked out as the Bs power play went 0-for-6 while also holding the high-powered Canucks to an 0-for-6.
The Bruins did manage to get 12 shots on net and had a very good possession during a four-minute power play after a high-sticking call against Daniel Sedin in the first period. But still, no actual production for a special-teams unit that needs some serious overhauling if its ever going to fully function.
I think our power play was better tonight than its been in a while," said Julien. "We had some shots. We had some opportunities. We had chances. We didnt score and obviously when your power play isnt doing well then its going to be criticized for not scoring.
But the same thing happened on the other side. As long as were able to stay on even terms with them on special teams, then Im okay with that.