Julien: 'Not going to criticize' Boychuk


Julien: 'Not going to criticize' Boychuk

By JoeHaggerty

VANCOUVER Johnny Boychuk has certainly struggled a bit in the playoffs, and those defensive lapses have been more pronounced over the last few games.Zdeno Chara made the wrong read on the play that eventually won Game 1 for the Vancouver Canucks, and there was little support from anyone else in the vicinity, but theres no question Boychuks aggressive movement toward Ryan Kesler was the wrong decision at the wrong time.With 18 seconds left in the game Boychuk lunged at Vancouvers playmaking center and lost a puck battle, giving Vancouver an odd-man rush with Jannik Hansen and Raffi Torres once Kesler zipped a pass to Hansen. Torres finished the play with the game's only goal, meaning Boychuk has been on the ice for each of Bostons last seven goals allowed, dating back to Game 5 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.Boychuk has certainly had his ups and downs in the playoffs, but Wednesday night's last-second mistake was unfortunate given that he otherwise played a solid 20-plus minutes in his first career Stanley Cup Final game.
Boychuk wasnt made available to the media on Thursday afternoon, but coach Claude Julien wasnt going to throw his player under the bus.Julien did, however, admit that the affable Boychuk would probably like to have that final play back, or at least have the chance to alter his decision-making process.
Let's put it this way," said Julien. "At this time of the year I'm not going to come in here and criticize my players. I'm not going to answer that question about Boychuk as far as we're going to deal with it internally. I think what we have to do here is regroup as a team and play better. Right now I'm not going to stand here and start answering questions about people criticizing individuals. I'm going to stay with the team concept. I think if you ask him, he knows he probably could have played that last goal a lot better. We all know that, but we all need to move on right now.Boychuk has six points and is averaging 21 minutes per game in 19 postseason games during this run at a plus-4 rating, but its clear that its time for the defenseman to rein in some parts of his decision-making process.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: Playoff format going to irk somebody


Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: Playoff format going to irk somebody

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Cassidy switches up Bruins lines tonight against Lightning

Cassidy switches up Bruins lines tonight against Lightning

BRIGHTON, Mass. – After his Bruins scored just two goals in each of the past two games with a distinct lack of finish around the net, Bruce Cassidy has made some slight tweaks up front with his wingers. 

Drew Stafford has been bumped up to the left wing with David Krejci and Matt Beleskey has been dropped to a new fourth line with Dominic Moore and Riley Nash.

The hope would be that Krejci and Pastrnak could help get Stafford going after he’s gone scoreless in his past three games, with just two shots on net, and been pretty quiet since a couple of strong games right after the trade.

After a couple of active games for Noel Acciari, the gritty Rhode Island kid was skating on the third line with Frank Vatrano and Ryan Spooner in an interesting combination of players. Tuukka Rask was the first goalie off the ice at Warrior Ice Arena on Thursday morning, so it looks like he’ll be starting his third game in four days tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning at a time of year when bubble teams can’t afford to rest anybody.  

Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings based on morning skate:







C. Miller-K. Miller