PROVIDENCE — A veteran of now more than 300 AHL games, Providence defenseman Johnny Boychuk has forged a reputation for his offensive prowess from the blue line.
That’s why it was surprising to see the Manchester defense back off the 25-year-old so far tonight against the P-Bruins. Boychuk made them pay with two goals — his second multi-goal game of the year — in a 5-2 Providence win at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Providence had been 0-2-1-1 against the Monarchs this season.
Boychuk, the leading scorer among P-Bruins players currently on the roster with 46 points (12 goals), was also helped by a change of positioning.
“Both times I shot the puck, I was on my off side – which is different. We haven’t done that this year, and today it worked really well,” said Boychuk, who scored one goal on the power play and one at even strength.
Boychuk’s performance against the Monarchs was indicative of how he’s performed all season long for Providence.
“It’s been the same thing all year for Johnny. I don’t know why they didn’t let him take part in the hardest shot contest at the All-Star Game. But I’m sure he’s got one of the hardest shots, if not the hardest shot in the AHL,” P-Bruins head coach Rob Murray said. “And that’s where his bread and butter has been the whole season. Certain nights he’s going to be more successful than others, and tonight was a good night for him.”
Providence also got goals from Jordan Knackstedt, Peter Schaefer and Wacey Rabbit. Tuukka Rask made 22 saves in net and anchored a penalty kill that was successful five out of six times.
“We did a good job, got sticks in lanes, we blocked shots, we did all the little things that we had to,” said Murray.”And one of the things that we haven’t done in a while is we haven’t won many draws on the penalty kill to start with the puck. With the new rule … tonight Wacey won his share of draws. And even Zach Hamill, Brad Marchand, the guys that were taking the draws, we didn’t win all of them but at least their coming back in the zone at 1:45 rather than spending the whole two minutes in the zone.”
Providence is back in action tomorrow night at Worcester.