BOSTON -- Johnny Boychuk suffered a freak accident in the first period that led to a goal scored against his team and a close call with injury.
Boychuk and Carolina forward Tuomo Ruutu were speeding into the corner for a loose puck and Boychuks stick got wedged into the space between the boards as his 6-foot-2, 220-pound body went crashing into the stuck stick. It stabbed Boychuk just below his sternum and knocked the wind out of the tough-as-nails blueliner.
Zdeno Chara and the rest of Boychuks teammates on the ice basically stopped playing when the affable defenseman dropped to his hands and knees on the ice. Eric Staal and the Carolina Hurricanes took advantage with a quick goal scored against Tuukka Rask, and the Canes were off and running in a 3-0 win at TD Garden.
Boychuk said he was fine after the game and he did return for the final two periods after leaving the ice early in the first 20 minutes. He will be keeping a watch out for any issues overnight, as a stick butt-ended into the stomachchest area could cause internal bleeding.
Beef teriyaki on the stick or a corn dog skewer were the first couple of things that came to mind with Boychuks plight in the first period, but the Bs defenseman had another delight-on-a-stick in mind when he butt-ended himself.
No, it went in between the boards and I basically made myself into a shish kabob. It didnt feel very good at all, said Boychuk. Yeah, its just one of those things where it goes right up under your sternum and you cant breathe. It took me awhile to catch my breath, but in the second and third it was fine.
Either way, it takes something blindingly painful to force Boychuk off the ice like it did in the first period, but he returned and tied with several other Bruins for a team-high four registered hits against Carolina. Boychuk returned to the game to set yet another example of his toughness and dedication, but there werent enough players going with that kind of fierce one-way dedication.
Dont get me wrong, they are a hard working team, a good team and they capitalized on their chances but we havent played our best when we have played against them, said Boychuk. I think thats the biggest reason that they won because we didnt play our game and they played theirs and capitalized when they had the opportunities.
Boychuk finished with a pair of shots and four hits in his 17:53 of ice time against the Hurricanes, and one giant stroke of good fortune remaining healthy.