Practice notes: Boychuk denies intent

BOSTON -- Some quick hits from Sunday's Bruins' practice in anticipation of Monday night's Game 3 against the Sabres at TD Garden:

*A report in the Buffalo News today said that Sabres winger Thomas Vanek should be able to return at some point during the Boston-Buffalo Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, but he's not expected to play in Monday night's Game 3. Vanek suffered a “lower-body injury” late in the first period Saturday after he was hooked and slashed by Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk.

After the Bruins' win in Game 2, Sabres coach Lindy Ruff called the play into question by characterizing Boychuk’s action as a “two-hander.” After an off-ice workout today, Boychuk explained that he had no intent to injure on the play.

“I was just trying to lift his stick on the one side because it was kind of like a breakaway,” he said. “And then I couldn’t get to it, so I went to the other side and tried to hit his stick. I didn’t even know I actually slashed him.”

* Rookie defenseman Adam McQuaid has acquitted himself well in his first NHL playoff experience, keeping things simple and even stepping up to keep the puck alive in the attack zone before Michael Ryder’s first of two goals in Game 2.

“I think I’ve gotten more comfortable as the games have gone along,” McQuaid said. “I’ve just been trying to keep the same mentality I had in the regular season. Obviously the games are more important, you’re more under the microscope on every play, but I’m just trying to keep it simple. I think that’s what’s kept me out of trouble for the most part.”

McQuaid has been working mostly with veteran Andrew Ference.

“It’s impressive. I know there have been a lot of firsts for him this year and not just spot minutes here and there too," said Ference. “He’s been out there in some important situations and important times in the game.

“He’s been great. As a pairing, I think we’re just trying to keep things calm and simple and do our job. He’s easy to talk to as a partner and communicate with. He’s the kind of young guy that you like to play with because he’s not cocky or thinks he knows it all or anything like that. He listens really well and he kind of takes a lot of information in, probably more than he needs sometimes, between the coaches and myself. But he takes it in and obviously handles it very well.”

*Only Shawn Thornton, Tim Thomas and McQuaid were active game players who skated today at TD Garden along with the Bruins’ healthy scratches.