In a game that’s outcome was meaningless to the Bruins, there was an injury with potentially a whole lot of meaning. The Bruins took the ice after awarding the 7th Player Award to Tyler Seguin, and were just looking to stay healthy and get in some good reps.
Sidney Crosby, James Neal, and Aaron Asham(yes you read the correctly, the Aaron Asham) had their fingerprints all over this one. Crosby had 2 goals and an assist while Neal chipped in a goal and a helper as well. Aaron Asham would score on a “look what I found” tip in, but Bruins fans will remember him for a much more significant play.
About midway through the 3rd period, Johnny Boychuk pinched along the boards trying to keep possession as well as bump Asham from any chance of a steal. When the contact was made, Boychuk’s skate blade was anchored in the ice and the leg on leg contact caused his knee to buckle awkwardly. He remained on the ice for a minute, and was helped off by teammates, not able to put any pressure on the leg. It is important to note that this contact was initiated by Boychuk and Asham did not extend his leg in any way, shape or form. This was not dirty or intentional. Boychuk remained in the tunnel sitting on a chair for a few minutes before heading to the room, not returning. He was seen leaving the arena under his own power, though limping noticeably. We should hear more on his condition Wednesday and we will hope the news is good. He is a solid blue liner who gives us over 20 minutes a night and we all love that Johnny Rocket of his!
The Bruins would fight their way back into the game, tying it just 18 seconds in the second period. Benoit Pouliot scored a beautiful backhander in the first, and Milan Lucic tied it after a magical back pass by David Krejci. It went back and forth until about the 18:00 minute mark, when the Pens caught a lucky and unfortunate break. Daniel Paille went to the box for charging, which I thought was a correct call. Then just 9 seconds later, Kris Letang drew a high stick on Rich Peverley which was awful any way you look at it. He got hit on the elbow and threw his head back in a very Canuck-ian sort of way.
The officials need to police this better, because this type of embellishment and diving is what is ruining this game. The credibility of a lot of players is nothing and it is causing unfortunate outcomes to games. This was meaningless but what if that was game 7 of a playoff series? The momentum swings of power plays, especially 5 on 3’s, drastically change the game. We do not want this sport to become like soccer, which is a great sport but cannot overcome the non-stop diving to be a mainstream American pass time.
The 5 on 3 was too much and the Penguins would score twice and would not look back. Sandwiched between those two goals was a great bout between Andrew Ference and James Neal, who was not allowed to run any longer. Neal had been talking and slashing all night, already turning down Lucic and Chara who were willing to pummel him. He hit Boychuk from behind, and like always, Ference was there for his teammates. He dropped the gloves and got in two shots to Neal’s face before Neal finally dropped the mitts. I am glad he did not get the instigator, which needs to be thrown out anyway, because it was a good five seconds before Neal willingly went.
The teams would trade goals in the third period but the B’s could not gain any ground on them. The Penguins were outshot 29-27 on the night despite four power plays and a very lengthy 5 on 3. In what may have been Turco’s last start of the year, he turned away 22 shots. He was a class act all the way and I wish him nothing but luck down the road. Anton Khudobin will most likely start on Thursday in Ottawa and depending on Rask’s status, we may see him again Saturday against Buffalo. If Rask will not be ready by playoff time, it would make sense to start Khudobin, just in case we needed a backup for any reason come playoff time.
Check back here Wednesday for an update on Johnny Boychuk, and let’s all keep our fingers crossed. Let’s Go Black and Gold!