BOSTON — Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who scored five goals in 51 games last season, has scored just once in 46 appearances this year.
And while Boychuk told TheBruinsBlog.net this morning that he thinks his defensive game is sort of making up for his lack of production, head coach Claude Julien obviously disagrees.
Boychuk was the healthy scratch tonight against Toronto at TD Garden.
“I’ve been learning a lot how to play better defensively,” said Boychuk after the morning skate. “It would be great to get a lot more points. As long as we win the game, I’m going to be happy no matter what. So I’m trying to focus on team goals instead of personal goals.”
Now Boychuk can focus on watching the game from afar. Since returning from injury Nov. 18, Boychuk hadn’t missed a game. When asked about why he hasn’t gotten his offensive game in gear this season, Boychuk cited a struggle to get his shot through from the point and not enough opportunities while joining the rush. The majority of his goals last season came off the rush.
“You’ve just got to pick your spots, and when you get the chance put the puck on net,” he said.
Boychuk picked the wrong spot Sunday in Detroit. His ill-advised pinch and inability to play the puck along the right wall led to the Red Wings’ fourth goal on a 2-on-1. This morning, Julien offered just a short response to a question about Boychuk — maybe hinting that the second-year blueliner would be out.
“I think his battle is still good and stuff like that,” said the coach. “But I think, again, when it comes to puck decisions he’s had his fair share of challenges there.”
Tim Thomas got the start in goal, while the forwards lined up in their usual formation with Daniel Paille back on the fourth line after his suspension. The defense pairs during warm-ups were Zdeno Chara/Steven Kampfer, Andrew Ference/Dennis Seidenberg, Mark Stuart/Adam McQuaid.