The Bruins took a much-needed win in Ottawa on Saturday, but it did come at a price.
The 5-3 victory wasn't a particularly physical affair for the first 40 minutes, but it took a nasty turn in the third period with a pair of huge hits delivered by the Senators on Bruins defensemen.
Johnny Boychuk was on the wrong end of the more vicious, though clean, of those hits from Chris Neil just under three minutes into the third. Neil blasted Boychuk inside the Bruins blue line, and both men stayed down on the ice briefly shaken up by the collision. Neil would remain in the game, but Boychuk headed gingerly to the locker room and did not return.
After the game, Bruins coach Claude Julien offered some reason for optimism that Boychuk would not be out of the lineup for long.
"He's coming back (with us)…seems to be feeling better already, so that's a good sign," the Bruins official Twitter feed reported Julien saying after the game.
Even though the hit was clean, the Bruins still took exception, with captain Zdeno Chara taking on Neil in a fight with seven minutes left.
"It's part of the game," Chara said. "It was a clean hit. It was a big, solid, clean hit, but obviously I'm going to step up for my partner. That's part of the game. It was a clean hit, but that's what we do. We care for each other. That's very unfortunate, but hopefully Johnny's going to be OK. But no matter who it is, you have to show respect for your teammate and do the job."
Just over two minutes after Neil's hit on Boychuk, the Senators dished out another check that was definitely not clean and certainly showed no respect. Ottawa forward Kyle Turris took a run at Joe Corvo along the boards in the Boston zone.
Turris left his feet on the play and appeared to make contact with Corvo's head with an elbow. Turris received just a two-minute minor for boarding, but could be in line for more discipline from the league. The hit appeared to fit the criteria for supplemental discipline as he left his feet and targeted the head.
Corvo stayed down briefly and was checked out by the trainers on the bench, but remained in the game and finished the contest.
The Bruins and Senators meet again Tuesday back in Boston, a game that could be a little more interesting after Saturday's third-period antics. The question is whether either Boychuk or Turris will be in the lineup for that rematch.
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