Boynton passes this stress test
Statistics tell story of three-week skid
Nick Boynton may not be among the best-known players in the league, but when it comes to responsibilities, his workload is heavy. At times this season, Boynton has appeared to be adversely affected by his workload, and he has struggled of late. Last night, though, Boynton logged 23:28 over 29 shifts and was one of Boston's best players in the Bruins' 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators.
"We ask a lot of Nick," said coach Mike Sullivan. "He plays against the other team's top players. He's on the power play and he's killing penalties. We certainly have high expectations of him. I thought [he] was one guy who led the charge for us tonight."
Boynton said he didn't think he was overly stressed of late.
"I'm pretty tense, all the time," he said. "It's a real big win for us. We've been struggling a little bit. We've been working hard but just not getting the bounces. We're all sick of meetings. We haven't been playing well so we deserve it but it's nice to beat a team like this."
Boynton set up Joe Thornton's winning goal at 10:57 of the third period after left wing Mike Knuble kept the puck inside the Ottawa zone with his skate.
"It came bouncing back to the point and I happened to be there," said Boynton. "I knew [Thornton] was there and he did the rest. I did the easy stuff. He did the hard stuff."
Hitting it off
One of the most punishing hits of the night was a hip check thrown by 18-year-old Patrice Bergeron on Senators left wing Vaclav Varada, who's upended his share of opponents in his career. The hit knocked Varada out of the game in the first period.
"He's throwing his weight around, isn't he?" marveled Sullivan. "He's just a complete player, that kid. He understands the game so well. He has the ability to make plays. He certainly plays with courage. He finishes checks, he isn't afraid to go into traffic. We're thrilled that we have a young guy like Patrice that is in our organization. We expect nothing but great things. He'll get better and better as he matures. I expect you'll see him for a long time in a Bruins jersey." . . . Playing in just his second NHL game, Bruins forward Doug Doull played only three shifts over 1:06 but gave his team a big boost by fighting Ottawa bruiser Chris Neil twice in the first period.
As expected, left wing Sergei Samsonov was out of the lineup because of a mildly sprained left medial collateral ligament suffered Thursday in Washington. He is scheduled to be examined by the team's medical personnel in Boston today or tomorrow . . . The Senators were without defenseman Anton Volchenkov, who will have shoulder surgery and could be out up to four months . . . Rosters will be frozen (with the exception of minor league call-ups) from Dec. 19-27 . . . The Bruins will be collecting donations of unwrapped, unopened toys for the Toys for Tots program prior to Thursday's game against Calgary at the FleetCenter. Stations will be set up on Level 2 of the arena. That game also is Student Night. High school and college students are eligible for one half-price seat with a valid student ID (offer good on $54 and $44 seats while supplies last). Saturday's matinee against the Hurricanes is Family Day. Families can purchase four tickets for $99 (valid on $44 seats while supplies last).
Material from Associated Press was used in this report.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.