The first minutes were frightening. Johnny Boychuk had gone hard into the boards with both feet at 10:33 of the third period, and it seemed like the Bruins might have suffered another major injury to a defenseman. It didn’t look any better as Boychuk gathered himself, as he rose gingerly to his feet, as he was helped off the ice by David Krejci, favoring his right leg.
“It is pretty scary,” the defenseman said. “You don’t know what’s going on, but you just want to see if you’re all right first, when you try to get back up.”
After heading down the tunnel and walking around to determine how badly he was hurt, Boychuk returned to the bench and the ice.
And, promptly, took a slap shot to the same foot. He limped off, again.
“You can’t really do anything but laugh,” a smiling Boychuk said after the game. “You get it on the same side and it hurts so bad that you just have to laugh at it.”
But, he acknowledged, “It didn’t really feel that great.”
Boychuk played 20 minutes 56 seconds in the Bruins’ 5-1 win, second only to Zdeno Chara. Boychuk, who also had four hits and six blocked shots, said he was given an X-ray after the game, but did not immediately know the results.
“A little bit sore,” Boychuk said. “Just glad everything’s OK. I was going for the puck, I was looking left and right to see where my guys were, and went to go hit and all of a sudden I’m going into the boards, just with my feet kind of awkwardly.”
He added, “I’m just glad that my leg’s not broken.”
He got twisted, and wasn’t sure initially how bad the injury might be. Neither were his teammates.
“I think it’s a scary play for all defensemen,” Dougie Hamilton said. “I guess right away I thought he might’ve broken something, both of his legs were in an awkward position. I’m just glad to see him OK.”
Torey Krug took on Patrick Dwyer immediately after the initial hit into the boards, though Dwyer did not appear to do anything wrong as Boychuk hit the boards ahead of him. Krug said he had thought that Boychuk got “shoved or pushed into the boards . . . You’ve just got to react for your teammates. I don’t know. It looked pretty ugly.”
But he was glad to see his teammate return to the ice soon. It was something that Krug seemed to expect out of the tough Boychuk, saying, “Did you guys expect anything different? That’s just Johnny. Johnny being Johnny.”
“It’s not just me,” Boychuk said, deflecting the praise. “It’s our whole team, it’s our whole persona. You want to get back out there and do whatever it takes. It’s not just me, it’s the whole team.”
Asked which hurt more — the smash into the boards or the slap shot to the foot — Boychuk laughed and said, “Everything hurt more.”
Matt Lindblad made his NHL debut Saturday, skating on the fourth line in place of Shawn Thornton, as the Bruins tried to evaluate his potential as an extra forward.
“I liked his game,” coach Claude Julien said. “He skates well, quick skater, quick thinker, he made some real good heads up plays. So, like I said all along, I like his hockey sense.”
Lindblad, wearing No. 52, played 8:25 against Carolina, in front of a group of family members rounded up in the few days since assistant general manager Don Sweeney let him know he’d be heading to Boston. The Dartmouth product was sent back to Providence after the game, but gave the team a chance to see how he would fit in with them.
“I felt pretty good,” said Lindblad, who admitted he was “definitely nervous” to start the day. “Everyone talks about the first shift being the toughest and I thought after that first shift I knew I had my legs and I was moving pretty good out there.”
Johnson feels perfectly at home
With the win, Chad Johnson remains undefeated in regulation in home rinks over his career (10-0-1) . . . Hamilton, who got a seat in the press box for two games this week, threw a huge open-ice hit on Carolina’s Jeff Skinner in the third period. “It’s a hit you have to be careful with,” Hamilton said. “I was kind of looking for him and waiting for him to cut to the middle. Luckily he did. I got good contact. So it was kind of nice to have one of those. It felt good, obviously.” Jarome Iginla called the hit “a big spark.” . . . Daniel Paille returned to the ice after missing two games this week due to a concussion sustained a week ago in Florida. “I felt pretty good with it,” he said. “It hasn’t been too long since I have been out, so not too much rest out there. I was just anxious, but I was able to settle down after a while.” Paille played 11:54 . . . Patrice Bergeron was called for three minor in the first two periods (interference, interference, hooking), bringing his penalty minutes up to 37 for the season, a career high .Amalie Benjamin can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.