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Johnny Boychuk out three to seven days with back sprain 12.07.13 at 10:16 am ET
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Johnny Boychuk

Johnny Boychuk

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli had an encouraging and somewhat surprising update on Johnny Boychuk Saturday morning, as Chiarelli revealed that Boychuk will miss “approximately three to seven days” with a back sprain.

Consider that good news for the B’s, as it was an ugly scene when Boychuk went down following a hit in the corner from Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty Thursday in Montreal. Boychuk was hunched over on the ice, placed onto a stretcher with his head immobilized and rushed to a local hospital.

“I think we dodged a pretty good bullet there personally,” Claude Julien said Saturday. “Those kind of injuries could have serious consequences. We feared the worst and I think we got as good of news as we could get. When he was down he couldn’t breathe, I guess he couldn’t move either. So obviously on the medical side of it, our trainers and the Montreal doctors did the right thing. They took him off on a stretcher, took him to the hospital and they got him checked out. After the MRI yesterday which we did, they found no fractures. So a lot of it has been based on him locking up from going into the boards; muscle spasm and everything else.

“We hope that it’ll be a quicker recovery, kind of sooner than later kind of thing. So it’s hard to tell how long he’s going to be out. Still stiff this morning, still walking around. With those kind of injuries, there’s always that opportunity that the spasm and the stiffness can go away quickly; you never know. Our plan right now is to bring him on the road with us. Certainly not playing tonight, not playing tomorrow — it’s not one of those things — but it’s a situation that we’ll see how it goes from there. I think his diagnosis was maybe three to seven days and stuff like that. Like I said, we’re lucky, and those kind of injuries, as you know, back injuries can have real serious consequences on the player’s future. Like I said, we dodged a bullet and we’re happy about the fact that it’s a lot less severe than initially expected.”

With Boychuk out, the Bruins will rely on either Matt Bartkowski or Kevan Miller (or both depending on Adam McQuaid‘s status) in the team’s upcoming games.

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Adam McQuaid, Johnny Boychuk,
Max Pacioretty feels terrible about Johnny Boychuk’s injury, and Bruins believe him 12.05.13 at 11:40 pm ET
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Max Pacioretty

Max Pacioretty

MONTREAL — Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty was adamant that he had no intention of putting Johnny Boychuk in a dangerous position on the play on which Boychuk was forced from Thursday’s game. Boychuk was taken from the game in a stretcher after getting injured on a first-period hit in the corner from Pacioretty.

The hit did not seem malicious, as Boychuk was turning when Pacioretty was already going in for a hit on Boychuk’s shoulder. The result was Boychuk going down hard after his left side was pinned against the boards.

“Honestly, I couldn’t even walk you through the hit,” Pacioretty said. “It’s, you know, I felt terrible, I didn’t even really know what happened. I was just kind of battling for the puck, I felt terrible after it happened. I’m going to have to see it because I haven’t even seen the replay.”

No Bruins went after Pacioretty as a result of the hit, and the Habs forward said he tried to get more information about the play and Boychuk’s status as the game went on.

“No,” Pacioretty said when asked if the Bruins took issue with the hit. “I mean I asked people because I literally didn’t know what happened. They said, I think he twisted his back or something in regards to that. I obviously feel terrible, I’ve been in that situation before, and I had no intent to injury anybody, I thought I was just playing hard, I hope everything’s going to be all right for him.”

The Bruins clearly believe Pacioretty, as they wouldn’t have hesitated to have some sort of on-ice answer. Tuukka Rask said the play was a case of “bad luck and bad timing,” while Gregory Campbell and Claude Julien both said it was deserving of the boarding minor Pacioretty received, but nothing more.

“I guess it was deserving of a penalty, and that’s what it was called,” Campbell said. “Things happen fast, and Johnny was going in for the puck. I don’t think there was any intent. I’m almost positive. He’s a clean player, and it’s unfortunate things happen, and things happen quickly so sometimes you put yourself in those positions. It’s hard to stop yourself from the momentum you have going into the play there.”

Pacioretty has been at the center of a few controversial plays between the Bruins and Habs over the years. Such actions include celebrating an overtime goal by shoving Zdeno Chara, jumping an unsuspecting Steve Kampfer during a scrum, and most notably being the recipient of a shove from Chara on which his head went into a stanchion at Bell Centre in the 2010-11 season.

Asked whether the hit being from Pacioretty would be reason for anyone to suspect any malicious intent, Campbell replied, “Nobody on this team thinks that.”

Read More: Johnny Boychuk, Max Pacioretty,
Claude Julien: ‘It’s going to be a little while’ before Johnny Boychuk returns from injury 12.05.13 at 11:37 pm ET
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Johnny Boychuk

Johnny Boychuk

MONTREAL — Johnny Boychuk was cleared to travel with the Bruins Thursday night after he left the game against the Canadiens on a stretcher and was rushed to the hospital.

“He was cleared to fly back with us,” Claude Julien said. “He’s still obviously injured. We don’t know the severity of it and I don’t know all the details, but it was an injury serious enough to bring him to the hospital. Definitely, it’s going to be a little while before he’s good to go. I don’t know exactly how much time, but the good news is he’s coming back with us tonight and he’ll be reassessed by our doctors back in Boston.”

Boychuk was injured on an awkward play in which he was turning as Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty went to hit his shoulder. Pacioretty received a boarding minor for the play, with the Bruins saying they didn’t find the play to be malicious on his part.

The veteran defenseman remained on the ice for several minutes and had his head and neck immobilized after being placed on the stretcher. He was hunched over on the ice before he got onto the stretcher, which might have suggested the issue could have been something with his back.

“Well obviously he seemed like he wasn’t able to move,” Julien said. “Whether it’s his back, I don’t know exactly. I don’t like to comment on things I don’t know much about and give false information. He’s coming back with us and no doubt tomorrow we’ll have a clearer explanation and probably more details from our own doctors.

“They did a great job here, took good care of him. He saw the specialist and he cleared him to fly back with us, so we’ll see how he is.”

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Claude Julien, Johnny Boychuk,
Habs beat Bruins to take over first place in Atlantic Division 12.05.13 at 10:23 pm ET
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MONTREAL — The Canadiens took over first place in the Atlantic Division Thursday night with a 2-1 win at the Bell Centre that hurt the Bruins in more ways than one.

Tuukka Rask and the Bruins could not hold off the Canadiens on Thursday night. (AP)

Tuukka Rask and the Bruins could not hold off the Canadiens on Thursday night. (AP)

Though the top spot in the division was on the line, the game itself was quickly overshadowed by a scary injury for the Bruins as Johnny Boychuk was taken off the ice on a stretcher and rushed to a local hospital. Boychuk was injured on a first-period hit from Max Pacioretty and despite clearly being in a great deal of pain, was able to move all his extremities before being taken to the hospital.

The Bruins bounced back with a first-period goal from Gregory Campbell, but the Canadiens came roaring back in the second period with goals from Tomas Plekanec and Pacioretty. The Bruins followed a dormant second period with a much more active third, but they were unable to get the puck past Carey Price, who stopped all 16 shots he saw in the third.

The Canadiens now have 39 points to the Bruins’ 38, but they have played two more games than the B’s.

The Bruins will host the Penguins, who are tied with the Habs for the Eastern Conference lead in points, Saturday at TD Garden.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– The Bruins are all too familiar with playing games with only five defensemen this season. In-game injuries to Boychuk (Oct. 31), Adam McQuaid (Nov. 9) and Dennis Seidenberg (Nov. 19) have left the B’s down a defenseman.

– The Canadiens absolutely dominated the Bruins in the second period, getting chance after chance while the Bruins mustered little offensively. The Habs held a 17-7 advantage in shots on goal, but they had some chances on missed shots as well, such as Brian Gionta‘s prior to Plekanec’s goal, while the Bruins had no notable scoring chances and only attempted nine shots.

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Johnny Boychuk leaves game vs. Canadiens on stretcher after hit from Max Pacioretty 12.05.13 at 8:17 pm ET
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Johnny Boychuk

Johnny Boychuk

MONTREAL — Johnny Boychuk left Thursday night’s game against the Canadiens on a stretcher after suffering an injury on a first-period hit in the corner from Habs forward Max Pacioretty.

Boychuk was down on the ice for several minutes, bent over, before he was placed onto a stretcher and had his head immobilized as he left the ice.

The injury was suffered as Pacioretty hit him into the boards as Boychuk was turning. Boychuk’s left side went into the boards first and he appeared to be jammed as the rest of his body hit the boards. Pacioretty, who appeared to be going for Boychuk’s on the shoulder in what seemed to be more bad luck than anything, was given a two-minute boarding minor.

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said the following in a statement:

“Johnny Boychuk has been taken to Montreal General Hospital for observation, after being injured in Thursday’s game against the Canadiens. Before he was transported to the hospital, he was able to demonstrate movement in all of his extremities. We will provide a further update when it is appropriate.”

The game marked the the fourth time this season the Bruins have had to play the majority of the game with only five defensemen, as injuries to Boychuk (Oct. 31), Adam McQuaid (Nov. 9) and Dennis Seidenberg (Nov. 19) have left the B’s down a blueliner.

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Johnny Boychuk, Max Pacioretty,
Milan Lucic: Canadiens are Bruins’ biggest test 12.05.13 at 1:45 pm ET
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Milan Lucic

Milan Lucic

MONTREAL — It’s a bit odd that the Bruins and Canadiens have yet to meet roughly a third of the way into the regular season, but when they finally do Thursday night, it will mean a lot more than it would have had they met in one of the first two months of the season.

First place in the Atlantic Division is on the line — and crazily, as NHL.com’s Arpon Basu notes, it’s the fifth straight meeting between the teams in which the top spot in a division was up for grabs. The Canadiens, who have played 29 games to the Bruins’ 27, sit one point behind the B’s in the standings with 37.

Some quick background on the Canadiens: They’ve been really good of late — 7-0-1 over their last eight games, as Bruins team statistician/left winger Milan Lucic noted Thursday morning.

“I think it’s probably our biggest test of the year, coming into a real tough building against a real good team who’s playing its best hockey so far this year,” Lucic said. “It’s going to be a good test for us.”

The Habs, who have much of the same roster from last season but added a top-six winger in Daniel Briere and toughened up a bit with George Parros, have been led by the usual strong play from the likes of Carey Price and P.K. Subban. Price has a 2.00 goals-against average and .937 save percentage in 22 games this season and likely will be in net Thursday after Peter Budaj played Wednesday against the Devils.

Subban, fresh off of winning the Norris Trophy as a 23-year-old, leads the Habs with 24 points (four goals, 20 assists). Claude Julien said after the morning skate that Subban is being considered for Team Canada and that after years of adjusting to being a young star player, he’s got everyone on the same page about what he brings to the table.

“I think P.K. is a player that is electrifying,” Julien said. “He makes a lot of things happen offensively. When he carries that puck, he’s hard to stop. Throughout the years, a player is allowed to mature just like any other player. We’ve got some in our lineup that go through that same thing. Expectations sometimes are extremely high, and sometimes they’re not realistic and you don’t allow a player to develop the way you should without criticism, which you should.”

The Bruins haven’t played since Saturday, while the Canadiens are playing the second game of a back-to-back. The Habs blew a third-period lead against the Devils on Wednesday but came back to force overtime and eventually win a shootout.

That brings them to Thursday, when they will at long last face the Bruins. It’s been a good start for both teams, but the season doesn’t really start until the Bruins-Canadiens rivalry gets kicked off.

“It does feel different [having not played them], no doubt,” Julien said. “It’s probably a game that everybody’s been waiting for, fans and players alike. This is a great rivalry. We enjoy this kind of rivalry, and those are easy games to get up for for both sides and they end up being pretty entertaining games as well. … These are the kinds of games that I think fans want to watch.”

Read More: Claude Julien, Milan Lucic, P.K. Subban,
Torey Krug expected to play vs. Canadiens 12.05.13 at 12:45 pm ET
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Torey Krug

Torey Krug

MONTREAL — Torey Krug will likely be in the lineup Thursday against the Canadiens, Bruins coach Claude Julien said Thursday morning.

Krug, who missed Tuesday’s practice with an unspecified injury, was one of seven defensemen to take the ice for a morning skate. The session included everybody but Adam McQuaid, who did not travel with the team. Julien said after the skate that Krug would be a game-time decision, but that he would in all likelihood be in the lineup.

“I think he looked pretty good there this morning, so he will be game-time, but I’d be extremely surprised if he didn’t play,” Julien said.

For what it’s worth, Krug had clear skate protectors over his feet for Thursday’s session, which he usually does not wear. That could be an indication of where Krug might have been hobbled, but neither Krug nor Julien have shared specifics of the injury.

The Bruins’ defense pairings in the skate were Zdeno Chara with Johnny Boychuk, Dennis Seidenberg with Dougie Hamilton and Matt Bartkowski with Kevan Miller, with Krug rotating in with the pairings. Assuming Krug plays, the team will likely scratch Bartkowski or Miller.

Krug is third on the Bruins with seven goals this season, three of which have been scored on the power play. If he plays, Thursday will mark his first regular-season game in Montreal.

“Hopefully,” Krug said when asked if he was good to go. “I do it every day — I just wait to see if the coaches put me in the game, and then I show up and I do my thing.”

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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