When Jarome Iginla was reminded of his next target on the all-time goals list — the Bruins’ own Johnny Bucyk — March 9 in Florida, it didn’t seem like he would be moving into 25th on the career list all that soon. Certainly not within the next 10 days.
But Iginla will have that opportunity against the Devils on Tuesday night, after scoring twice in Monday night’s 4-1 win over the Wild. He upped his season total to 25 goals, and his career total to 555, one short of tying Bucyk.
Iginla did reach a milestone Monday, playing the 1,300th game of his career, joining only four other active players: Jaromir Jagr, Teemu Selanne, Ray Whitney, and Shane Doan, who reached it last Thursday against the Bruins.
“That’s a lot of hockey games – 1,300 regular-season hockey games – that’s not playoffs or preseason games or practices,” Chris Kelly said. “That’s a lot of hockey and he still shows up and plays hard. He’s so strong, just a great addition for us to have. And for any young hockey player to look at, he’s a constant professional.”
Iginla continues to be a perfect addition to both the Bruins as a whole and to their top line, a line that has 49 points in the last 15 games.
“We lose a guy we thought was going to be back with us when we talk about [Nathan] Horton last year,” coach Claude Julien said. “That was a big hole to fill. [Iginla’s] come in there and filled that hole really well. He’s fit in so well with that line. He brings us the same thing the other guy did with his size and his scoring ability. He’s done a great job.
“And, again, we’re talking about a veteran here who has tremendous leadership qualities. Again, maybe not surprising to a lot of people what he’s accomplished here, and certainly he’s been a great asset to our team where, like I said, it could have been a lot different had we not gotten him.”
Boychuk sits out
After Saturday’s game, Johnny Boychuk stood outside the Bruins dressing room smiling wryly. He had gone into the boards awkwardly in the third period against the Hurricanes, returned to the ice, and on the next shift had been hit by a slap shot.
He said, given the situation, all he could do was laugh.
But the collision had consequences, knocking Boychuk out of Monday night’s game. He was not on the ice for morning skate because of a right leg injury, and Julien confirmed that Boychuk would not play.
“He didn’t skate this morning because he can’t. Right now it’s too sore, so he’s day-to-day,” Julien said. “It’s from obviously the incident the other night. So he couldn’t skate this morning, came in early, we tried to see if he could and he couldn’t. Just go day-to-day with him.”
Julien confirmed that X-rays taken after the game were negative. Boychuk came off the ice after being hit by the slap shot, but returned shortly thereafter.
“If he tried to skate this morning, it would have been negative, but there’s some damage in there obviously when you go in feet-first,” Julien said. “We looked at both his skates and he kind of crashed in there and twisted, so a little sore for him to skate on.”
Boychuk will accompany the team on its three-city road trip.
The Bruins have been shuffling their defensemen lately. They currently have eight on the roster, one of whom (Corey Potter) has yet to play for his new team. Dougie Hamilton, Andrej Meszaros, and Torey Krug have all been healthy scratches in the last week.
Julien: ‘Not our best’
The Bruins have won nine straight games. Following Saturday’s victory, Milan Lucic said that he hoped the team wasn’t peaking too soon. While Julien dismissed that thought Saturday, he revisited it Monday before the game. “You know, this isn’t our best,” he said. “Trust me, it’s not our best. When you look at the scoring chances you give, when you look at some of the breakdowns, it’s nice to win some games, but you have to remember, sometimes your goaltender does a pretty nice job of bailing you out. To us, we’re good right now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we’re playing bad, we’re playing well. But I think there is still a lot of room for improvement here. If we expect to go a long way in the playoffs, we’re going to have to be better than what we are right now. So to me, that’s not peaking.” . . . The Bruins continued to struggle to draw penalties. They had no power plays against the Wild . . . Potter was the healthy scratch among defensemen. Jordan Caron was the other healthy scratch.