Without Johnny Boychuk  and Andrew Ference  playing effectively as the second pairing, the whole operation could fall apart, especially against a team like Washington that spreads its offensive talent to create a more balanced attack.
For that reason, the Bruins should be breathing a sigh of relief. Playing in his first game since spraining his right knee on April 3 against the Penguins , Boychuk handled his return well, helping to shut down Nicklas Backstrom‘s line. He looked so much like himself, in fact, that his partner didn’t even realize he was playing in his first game back from an injury.
“I forgot that was his first game back,” Ference after a pause when asked to assess Boychuk’s return. “Honestly, I did until you just said it. He got those couple of good practices in, and [the fact that he was returning from injury] didn’t even actually cross my mind.”
Ference laughed and added, “I guess that means he did good.”
Boychuk said he felt comfortable Thursday as he logged 17:58 of ice time without feeling especially limited. He said it’s a case of “so far so good,” and overall he was more pleased with how the defense as a whole played.
“In the first two periods we held them to under 10 shots,” he said. “You can’t say more than that. They’re one of the best offensive teams in the league, so if you limit them to under 10 shots in two periods, it’s obviously a good job by the D men and the forwards.”
Said Claude Julien : “He’s good. He played well and had a couple good shots from the point and I thought he was a real decent player. He didn’t look like a guy that missed any games. I was good with his whole play physically and moving the puck and everything that comes with his game.”