TAMPA, Fla. — The Bruins appeared to have dodged a bullet, as defenseman Johnny Boychuk escaped serious injury when hit into the boards by Tampa Bay forward Steve Downie during the third period of Monday's 3-1 win over the Lightning in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final.
The Bruins took a 3-2 series lead with that victory and can secure a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals with a win in Game 6 Wednesday night at the St. Pete Times Forum. Bruins coach Claude Julien indicated after the game that initial reports were that Boychuk was alright and would be available Wednesday, and Tuesday during media availability at the team hotel in Tampa, Julien confirmed that the defenseman was OK.
"Nothing's changed," Julien said. "He's fine."
Boychuk also spoke with the media and expressed his relief to have avoided injury, and he downplayed discussion of any potential supplemental discipline for Downie.
"I saw the hit, if it's suspendable then the league will do it," Boychuk said. "But I'm feeling fine and that's the main thing."
Boychuk was shaken up immediately after the hit, which earned Downie a two-minute minor for boarding at 10:54 in the third when he came in late and checked Boychuk into the boards behind the Bruins net. Boychuk's head hit the glass and he appeared groggy as he headed off the ice and to the locker room. He did not play again in the game.
"I was a little foggy," Boychuk said. "But after I got off the ice, I felt totally fine. Even when I was on the ice I just wanted to make sure I was OK before even trying to skate. I didn't want to fall."
TSN's Bob McKenzie tweeted Tuesday afternoon that there would be no further discipline on Downie.
While the Bruins should have Boychuk available, the Lightning may be without forward Sean Bergenheim, who suffered an undisclosed injury during Game 5 and did not return.
"If [Game 6] was [Tuesday], right now he wouldn't be playing," Tampa coach Guy Boucher said of Bergenheim's status for Game 6. "So we'll see [Wednesday]. I'll go to church, I think."
Boucher added that he hadn't decided who will replace Bergenheim, who leads the Lightning with nine goals in the playoffs, if he cannot play Wednesday.