PHILADELPHIA – To Johnny Boychuk, it seemed like a harmless play. On March 22, during a practice at Carleton University in Ottawa, the Bruins defenseman stuck out his right leg to block an Aaron Johnson shot.
That decision cost Boychuk three straight games. Johnson’s shot caught the inside of Boychuk’s right foot hard enough to land him on injured reserve.
The Bruins activated Boychuk Saturday against the Flyers. Boychuk, playing mostly alongside Johnson, logged 24 shifts for 16:30 of ice time. He recorded two shots, two hits, and four blocked shots.
“Not too bad,’’ Boychuk said. “There’s always a couple plays you wish you could have back. But overall, I felt pretty good.’’
Boychuk was on the ice for Philadelphia’s game-winning goal. First, he got caught up the ice, which gave the Flyers a three-on-one rush. The Bruins turned back Philadelphia’s initial flurry. But on the regroup, the Flyers gained the zone easily, with Jakub Voracek controlling the puck on the right side. Voracek sent a cross-ice pass to Matt Read, who snapped the puck past Tuukka Rask at 3:18 of the second.
In retrospect, Boychuk should have tried to pry the puck off Read’s blade. Instead, he dropped to one knee to block Read’s shot. Boychuk couldn’t get his body in front of the puck.
“I think I should have probably put my stick on the puck,’’ Boychuk said. “I thought he might have been one-timing it. So I tried to block it. But he stopped it and shot. I should have put the stick on the puck.’’
Julien: Do it yourself
The trade deadline is 4 p.m. Wednesday. General manager Peter Chiarelli and his hockey operations group will look to acquire a forward and defenseman. The most pressing need is on the third line, which has been ghostly. Jay Pandolfo, Rich Peverley, and Jordan Caron couldn’t create sustained offensive heat on Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.
But if the players are waiting for a trade to deliver the jolt they need, their coach says they are mistaken.
“I know it’s easy to say, ‘Let’s bring in another guy,’ and all of a sudden, he becomes the savior,’’
Claude Julien said. “No.
“We had a good record at the beginning of the year. Maybe you look more at the injuries. Maybe you miss some of the guys more than others. [Chris] Kelly was a pretty important part of our team and stability. You look at [Adam] McQuaid. Johnny was back for the first game, but he struggled tonight.
“There’s a lot of things. I think if we’re looking for help, we’re looking in the wrong direction. We have to look at ourselves. As a team right now, we’re not playing well.’’
Philadelphia was without two top-four defensemen: Andrej Meszaros (torn left rotator cuff) and Braydon Coburn (separated left shoulder). Meszaros is scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery Monday. Coburn could miss the rest of the regular season.
The Flyers are already missing Danny Briere (concussion) and Nicklas Grossman (upper body).
To add depth, the Flyers acquired defenseman Kent Huskins from Detroit Saturday for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2014.
Canadiens waive Kaberle
The Canadiens placed ex-Bruin Tomas Kaberle on waivers Saturday. Given Kaberle’s woeful production and remaining dough ($4.25 million annually through 2013-14), it’s highly unlikely he’ll be claimed . . . Kaspars Daugavins has claimed No. 16 with Boston. The last Bruin to wear No. 16 was Marco Sturm. Daugavins will make his Bruins debut once he obtains his work visa . . . Patrice Bergeron lost 13 of 20 faceoffs and showed some rare frustration in the first period when he tussled with Claude Giroux. Both were sent off for roughing. At the same time, Zdeno Chara tangled with Luke Schenn. Both defensemen dropped their mitts, but no punches were thrown. Chara and Schenn were also called for roughing . . . Zac Rinaldo was credited with a game-high 12 hits.
Off to Buffalo
The Bruins traveled to Buffalo after Saturday’s game and will play the Sabres Sunday. This is their second-to-last set of back-to-back games. They play New Jersey April 10 and the Islanders April 11 . . . The Bruins will hold their Cuts for a Cause charity event Monday. Eighteen players will have their heads shaved to benefit the Shawn Thornton Foundation, the Boston Bruins Foundation, and Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center. Brad Marchand, Chara, and Pandolfo were the players drawing the highest bids . . . Matt Bartkowski and Lane MacDermid were the healthy scratches.