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.
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