PHILADELPHIA – Johnny Boychuk blocked four shots in Boston’s 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center. Normally that wouldn’t much of a big deal, but it is when the 29-year-old defenseman was coming back from a week on injured reserve after taking an Aaron Johnson screamer on the inside of his right foot. Boychuk missed three games while waiting for the painful swelling to go down, and as luck would have it he got hit in the exact same spot during the second period of Saturday’s matinee in Philly.
It felt far from good, but it also didn’t cause the tough-as-nails Boychuk to start hobbling down the runway looking for repairs. Instead the B’s defenseman gutted out 16:30 and finished a minus-1 while throwing out a few hits and firing a few of his patented Johnny Rockets on the net.
“The foot felt pretty good. The first shot I blocked, though it me right on that spot. It certainly didn’t feel awesome,” said Boychuk. “If you can keep going it builds a little confidence that you can still do the same things [on the ice].”
It wasn’t Boychuk’s best and he did get caught in no man’s land in front of the net on Philly’s second goal when he couldn’t cut off the pass from Jakob Voracek to Matt Read. But then again nobody expected it to be a vintage performance from No. 55 after missing a week of action with a throbbing, swollen foot.
“Johnny was back, but he struggled a little bit,” admitted Claude Julien following the loss.
He certainly brought a lot more to the table than Johnson, who managed three giveaways in just 9:50 of ice time and should perhaps see a little scratch time in favor of the young, more mobile Matt Bartkowski.
There’s no reason to think Boychuk won’t be able to play on Sunday against the Buffalo Sabres in a tough back-to-back weekend where the Bruins need to get at least two points of road tilts against the Flyers and Sabres.