BOSTON — Not only didn’t Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk intend to injure Thomas Vanek late in the first period Saturday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with Buffalo, the rookie blueliner says he didn’t even know the forward was hurt until after the game.
Boychuk took Vanek down and received a hooking penalty on the play that saw the Sabres winger crash into the end wall and leave the ice favoring his left leg. Boychuk slashed Vanek on his right leg on the play.
“I was just trying to lift his stick on the one side because it was kind of like a breakaway. And then I couldn’t get to it, so I went to the other side and tried to hit his stick,” said Boychuk after an off-ice workout at TD Garden. “I didn’t even know I actually slashed him.”
Here’s a look at the play:
After the game, Lindy Ruff termed the play a “two-hander” to Vanek’s leg. But obviously the leg that was hit wasn’t the one that was hurt. The league took no action against Boychuk.
“I didn’t even know he got hurt,” Boychuk continued. “I just went to the box and I didn’t even know he was hurt. … I just actually was just trying to maybe slash his stick because he was like on a breakaway. So it’s kind of a tough situation, I guess.”
Vanek didn’t return to the game. Today the Sabres Edge blog reported that he’s expected to return for this series and is holding out hope he can play in Monday night’s Game 3.
“This morning I expected to be sore, which I am and I’ll just see how it feels tomorrow,” he told Sabres Edge. “I’m hoping to play. … I’m still hoping for (Monday) even though I know deep-down it’s a stretch. I would say Wednesday then. If it’s not Wednesday then, I don’t know. Maybe the next game. But the good part is that I feel like and we feel like I’ll be back for the series.”