Boychuk looks to rebound

By Barbara Matson
Globe Correspondent / April 17, 2011

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What’s the color of disappointment? Check Johnny Boychuk’s eyes.

The Bruins defenseman squinted painfully at the crowd in the locker room last night after his team lost to the Canadiens, 3-1, at TD Garden, falling to a disheartening 0-2 in the best-of-seven series.

Boychuk gulped out a few single-word answers.

Was he disappointed with the game? “Yeah.’’

Was he disappointed the defense could not cover for the loss of their defensive anchor, Zdeno Chara? “Yeah.’’

Without Chara, who was scratched after warm-ups, the Bruins sent out a mistake-prone defense and a powerless offense.

“We have to try and find a way to battle through that,’’ said Boychuk. “We could have done a better job.’’

Boychuk, in particular, had a tough skate last night. In the game’s first minute, Montreal’s James Wisniewski picked off a Boychuk pass in the Bruins’ zone and fired a shot at Bruins goalie Tim Thomas. A big, bouncing rebound landed on Michael Cammalleri’s stick and he knocked it into the open net at 0:43.

“I saw [Brad] Marchand and I tried to give it to him,’’ said Boychuk, “and the guy stepped up and anticipated it and got the puck. And then the guy took the shot from the side and the rebound went right to Cammalleri.’’

Another errant Boychuk pass led to Mathieu Darche scoring a power-play goal at 2:20 and the Bruins were two goals back before the game was three minutes old.

Thomas, who made 23 saves, said simply the Bruins had to be better, “right up and down the line.’’

This is not the playoff run that Thomas, the NHL’s best goalie for just about all of this season, expected.

“Well, it’s easy to accept because it is,’’ said Thomas. “We’ve got our backs against the wall and now we’ll see how we respond.’’

Without Chara, the Bruins scrambled in front of their goal.

“You always miss a guy like Zdeno,’’ said Thomas. “Having said that, the plan was to have everybody step up their game, and make up for that by committee. It didn’t work out that way.’’

With the Bruins trailing, 2-1, in the second, Dennis Seidenberg flung a lazy pass out of the zone that was picked off by Roman Hamrlik, who fed the puck ahead to Lars Eller for a quick shot. Yannick Weber pounced on another rebound for Montreal’s third goal at 17:21.

It was the second time an oversized rebound cost Thomas.

“The first one [on Cammalleri’s goal], I kicked out the perfect rebound,’’ said Thomas. “The second one, it went off [Seidenberg’s] shin pad; it was just bad luck. It changed the angle by about 3-4 inches and that’s the difference between controlling the rebound easily and having there be a rebound.’’

The Bruins head to Montreal for Game 3 tomorrow. That gives them some time to think, about the obvious — “We need to score more, we know that,’’ said Thomas — and about dealing with their deep disappointment.

“You take a step back and start focusing on Monday,’’ said Thomas. “You don’t feel sorry for yourself, because no one else is going to feel sorry for you.’’

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