BOSTON -- With three minutes to go in Monday night’s third period between the Bruins and Penguins, noted tough guy Johnny Boychuk went speeding to the Bruins dressing room clutching at his neck.
The defenseman took a puck to the throat that he thought might have cut open his throat, and Boychuk wasn’t about to take any chances with what could have been a dangerous situation. Boychuk went to the B’s dressing room, took inventory of everything and made sure he could breathe properly before returning to the bench in time for overtime.
“That’s something you don’t want to fool around with. I felt it push inside my throat, and that didn’t feel good at all,” said Boychuk, who also executed a pretty sweet spin-o-rama shot that went wide of the net in that fateful third period. “I took a couple of breaths, had a drink of water and then went right back out there.”
Boychuk had a giant red welt on his throat where the puck hit him and had a raspy voice, but otherwise seemed no worse for the wear.
Boychuk’s difficulties opened the door for rookie Kevan Miller to be out on the ice for the closing minutes of the third period. It didn’t work out so well as Sidney Crosby scored the game-tying goal with 0.3 seconds left with Miller out on the ice, but it didn’t appear to be the rookie’s fault when Sid the Kid got lost within the net-front coverage.
The choice of Miller in the final minute spoke to the confidence Claude Julien has in the stay-at-home defenseman’s game.
“He was solid. I think at that point it was the right defenseman. Johnny Boychuk had gone into the hallway there -- he had gotten a puck in the throat -- so [Miller] was a pretty reliable defenseman for us all night,” said Julien. “He was out there at the end and I thought he was a good player for us tonight.
“Sometimes you talk about experience, but you also talk about merit. He deserved to be there with the circumstances we were under at that time.”
Even more impressive: Miller was third among B’s defensemen with 20:13 of ice time in the overtime victory in just his third NHL game. It’s pretty clear the Bruins like what they see of the solid 26-year-old blueliner in his brief audition at the NHL level while Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid heal from their injuries.