Boychuk/By S. Bradley

VANCOUVER — Back when Johnny Boychuk had only been on the ice for six straight goals against, Bruins head coach Claude Julien was asked about his defenseman’s play.

He declined to answer that day because it was the morning of Game 7 of the Tampa Bay Eastern Conference Final.

In the aftermath of last night’s 1-0 loss to Vancouver in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final, Boychuk has now been on the ice for seven straight goals against. But Julien still won’t bite when asked for a critique of the second-year blueliner.

“Let’s put it this way. At this time of the year, I’m not going to come in here and criticize my players,” said Julien today during the first of two days off before Saturday’s Game 2. “So I’m not going to answer that question as far as we’re going to deal with it internally. I think what we have to do here is regroup as a team and play better.

“Right now I’m not going to stand here and start answering questions about people criticizing individuals. I’m going to stay with the team concept. I think if you ask him, he knows he probably could have played that last goal a lot better. We all know that, but we all need to move on right now.”

In Boychuk’s defense, he bounced back from the Game 6 debacle against the Lightning — five goals against in one game — to skate very well in the Game 7 shutout win. Now we’ll see if he can recover enough to aid Boston’s cause in the second game against the Canucks.

At the least, he knows the coach has his back.