NEW YORK -- The phrase “less is more” doesn’t always ring true in the playoffs, where the hits are super-sized and the effort displayed by players is maxed out more often than not.
But less has been more when it comes to Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk when he has shot the puck. Surprisingly, he's found success by scaling back his signature booming slap shot and instead settling for quicker, more accurate wrist shots against the Rangers. It's allowed the Bruins D-man to hit the net much more often with his shots, picking his spots rather than letting go a heavy slap shot that can sometimes veer high and wide away from the goalie.
The wrist shot was exactly what did the job from the right point with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton standing in front of Henrik Lundqvist in Game 3. It made its way to the back of the net and put the Bruins on the board with the game-tying score in the third period. It was Boychuk's fourth goal in 10 Stanley Cup playoff games this spring, and sparked the Bruins to a 2-1 win.
“Sometimes it’s hard to get that slapper off. It takes time [to release], and it’s a little bit more accurate if you use a wrist shot, or so I’ve been told,” said Boychuk. “You’ve just got to hit the net, especially with guys getting to the front of the net and doing such a good job of screening.”
Boychuk has 32 shots on net in Boston's 10 playoff games after putting up just a single goal on 75 shots on net during the regular season. To put his scoring in perspective, the 29-year-old has 14 career goals in 246 regular season games, and an amazing 10 career goals in 55 career Stanley Cup playoff games.
The term "playoff player" comes to mind for No. 55, who has clearly dialed up his game several notches from the grinding, wearying 48-game regular season that held so many Bruins players in check. Boychuk is also tied for fifth among NHL players with 41 hits during the playoffs, and has literally been the human embodiment of the Black and Gold’s physicality against both Toronto and New York. He still holds a wide lead among NHL players with 37 blocked shots in the postseason.
The best part about Boychuk offensive surge: Ask him about the four goals, and he’s thinking about the four posts that he’s hit in the playoffs, including a pair that could have captured Game 1 before Brad Marchand’s overtime game-winner.
He’s not even close to satisfied.
“It’s nice to get the goals, but it’s way better to get the wins,” said Boychuk. “You want to just do anything you can to help the team, and so far it’s been going in. Sometimes that doesn’t happen, but you just have to keep shooting the puck. You’ll eventually get rewarded.”
Boychuk is finally seeing his just rewards with the best stretch of hockey he’s ever played at a time when it matters most.