BOSTON (CBS) – As he will every week during the season, Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk spoke with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Tuesday morning, previewing Boston’s big game against the Rangers at the Garden.
The Bruins took the first meeting with New York 3-1 on opening night, and earned a point against them a few nights later in a 4-3 overtime loss.
The Rangers have won three of their last four games, with their top line of Rick Nash, Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards scoring three goals in that span. The front line hasn’t gotten off to the hot start most expected them to, but Boychuck knows it’s a dangerous line that could explode at any moment.
“Probably one of the best if not the best,” Boychuck said of the Rangers’ top line. “They’re just oozing with talent and scoring ability. If you don’t take care of them, it could easily be 7-1.”
Read: Bruins-Rangers Preview
When asked of their slow start, Boychuk said the lockout has a lot to do with it.
“It probably takes a couple games to get used to playing with guys because we didn’t have training camp or preseason games. I bet they’ll be rolling on all cylinders tonight,” said the B’s defender. “It’s not really a factor with our team because we’ve been playing together the last couple of years. It’s very easy for anybody to play with anybody else.”
Fighting in hockey has become a hot topic, with Chris Gasper writing in Sunday’s Boston Globe it should be banned from the game. Boychuck doesn’t agree with that, saying fighting is part of the game.
“If guys are taking liberties on your players and guys are sticking up for each other, it’s part of the game and always has been,” he said. “That’s how you grew up playing. If someone is taking liberties, you want someone to stick up for you or stick up for your teammates.”
“If we didn’t have fighting and someone is looking to hurt people… it puts it in the back of their mind that they can’t do that, or they’ll have to pay the price,” Boychuk added.
The Bruins have had a fairly spaced-out schedule, with Saturday night’s cancellation giving them an extra few days off. The lockout-condenced schedule will not be as kind next month, but Boychuk said the Bruins are doing a good job getting their rest in when they can.
“Our team hasn’t been too bad because our schedule — compared to other teams — hasn’t been as hectic. We’re getting days off that we need, taking care of our bodies. You have to or you’re going to get hurt or get tired,” he said.
“If you ask me the same question next month, it will be different on how our body will be feeling,” Boychuk joked, noting the Bruins have 17 games in March. “It’s absolutely stupid.”