BOSTON (CBS) – The NHL playoffs begin on Thursday for the Bruins, and defenseman Johnny Boychuk hopes to be there when Boston opens up their first round series against the Washington Capitals.

Boychuk missed Boston’s final two regular season games after suffering a leg injury last week against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Many feared the worst after Boychuk crumbled to the ice after the knee-on-knee hit from Pittsburgh’s Arron Asham, but the injury was not as severe as many had thought.

Read: Bruins-Capitals Playoff Schedule

Luckily, the injury was ruled a sprain, and Boychuk went through a full practice at Ristucia Arena in Wilmington on Monday. He even ignored the medical staff, who told him he wasn’t cleared for contact.

Being the playoffs, Boychuk put that aside and went all out.

“I wasn’t supposed to take any battles today, but I got in there for couple of battles and bumps to see how things would feel,” Boychuk said. “I’m feeling good. It was a good step practicing with the team. There were no snags to hold me back, so I kept going.

Boychuk On Practice, Injury 

And when the puck drops on Thursday, Boychuk says he will be ready. Hopefully.

“I hope so. I obviously don’t want to sit out. Just practicing today was a good step.  We’ll see how it feels later on today and tomorrow, and then go from there.”

Having Boychuk return would be big for the Bruins defense, as they will have Alexander Ovechkin and company to deal with. Boychuk and Ovechkin are two big-bodied players that like to use their size, and have a nice little head-to-head rivalry whenever their team’s face off.

Toucher & Rich: Ovechkin Raps

While some may shudder at facing such an offensive star like Ovechkin, Boychuk enjoys the challenge.

“It’s fun hitting Ovechkin. To some players it might not seem all that fun, but he’s a great player,”  said Boychuk.

Tune in to the Boston Bruins on 98.5 The Sports Hub as they defend their championship in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs. Pregame coverage for every playoff game begins 30 minutes prior to game time.

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