BOSTON — Johnny Boychuk admits things couldn’t have gone any worse for him than they did in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final Wednesday night.
Boychuk was on the ice for all five goals Tampa Bay scored en route to forcing tonight’s Game 7. Tonight Boychuk turned it all around, as he was on the ice for the lone goal — Nathan Horton’s score with 7:33 left in regulation — and played an airtight defensive game in the Bruins’ conference-championship-clinching victory at the TD Garden.
“It was almost devastating,” Boychuk said about Game 6 among the celebration after Game 7. “When you’re on for every goal against, it kind of puts a hole in you and you want to make sure to bounce back. You learn to more or less forget about it and bounce back and try to win the game. The team needed me more than ever and I had to play good in this game no matter what.”
Boychuk said he got support from everyone — his coaches, teammates, friends and families — in the aftermath of Game 6. He more than rewarded their faith in Game 7, as he was active on offense with two shots on net and three shots blocked, in addition to a couple great close-down defensive plays on Lightning wingers Simon Gagne and Teddy Purcell that made sure the game remained scoreless until Horton could pot the game-winner.
So from the hell of Game 6 to the euphoria of Game 7, Boychuk is now on the verge of living the dream. He’s not content, however, with just the conference championship.
“So far [this is a dream come true]. Not yet,” said Boychuk. “We’ve still got four wins to go.”
Those wins will be more likely to come if Boychuk continues to bury Game 6 against the Lightning deep in the past.