NEW YORK -- Count Shawn Thornton among the Bruins teammates that are happy Johnny Boychuk has started mixing in a few wrist shots from the point along with his trademark slap shots. The 29-year-old is known for his heavy shot from the point that causes teammates and opponents to scurry out of the way when they know it’s coming, but it’s always been a difficult shot to accurately get onto the net.
Boychuk has four goals in 10 playoff games this spring while snapping off a few more wrist shots, including his score in Tuesday night’s 2-1 win in Game 3 that’s put the Black and Gold up 3-0 in the series against the New York Rangers. In general, he’s taking more shots during the postseason with 32 shots in 10 games (3.2 shots per game) after taking just 75 shots in 44 games (1.70 shots per game) during the regular season.
“We used to call him “Johnny One-Timer” because all he’d do is tickle the rafters, and shoot it as hard as he could,” said Shawn Thornton. “He’s been wristing it a few times now, and we hope he’s figuring it out that getting a few shots through is better than breaking somebody’s leg.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien said there’s definitely more of a purpose to the way Boychuk is shooting the puck from the point: throwing a wrist shot toward the net when he doesn’t have the time or space to unleash the steaming slapper, and stepping into with everything he has if the perfect one-time pass comes his way. He’s scored goals with both shots during this season’s playoff run for the Bruins, and he’s also hit four different posts during the postseason games against the Maple Leafs and Rangers as well.
David Krejci took a Boychuk slap shot off the knee in Pittsburgh earlier this season, so he is definitely in the pro-wrist shot camp these days for No. 55.
“When you see Johnny trying to shoot a wrist shot you go there [to the front of the net] but when you see Johnny trying to shoot a slap shot you kind of step aside, you know?” said Krejci. “As long as we know what to expect from our ‘D’, and how they’re going to shoot, then things are going to be fine. We’ll be on the same page.”
Is Boychuk’s slap shot as hard as Zdeno Chara’s 108-mph slapper that’s continually given him the title as the hardest shot in the NHL over the last five years?
“I would love to see the two of them go head-to-head,” said Krejci. “Obviously Zee has won [NHL’s hardest shot] for the last few years, but Johnny has never had the chance to go. I’m not saying Johnny has the bigger shot, or the harder shot. But Johnny’s shot is so heavy.
“Zee can pick the corners a little bit, but Johnny’s shot is just heavy. I would love to see those two guys go head to head.”
This might have to be a pay-per-view event between Chara and Boychuk, once No. 55 is done with this wrist shot business from the point in the playoffs that has him scoring all kinds of big goals for Boston.