The hit was another example of how playoff hockey should be played in Boston, especially with the fans rocking the Garden.
Boston had just completed an offensive barrage on Sabres goalie Ryan Miller when Buffalo finally got control of the puck and started to transition out of its zone when Boychuk stepped up and flattened Ellis. The Sabres’ winger got to his skates slowly and went to the locker room, holding his left shoulder.
Because the Sabres were in the midst of a breakout, Boychuk quickly realized he had two of his teammates already backchecking, so it allowed him to step up and brutalize Ellis. If, for some reason, Boychuk missed the body, his forwards would have been back to cover for him.
“It gives the whole team a little boost,” said Boychuk. “The fans liked it and I can’t say much more than that. The fans were great tonight. We could hear them before the game chanting even from the [locker] room. It was pretty loud out there. The fans were great tonight. We could hear them before the game chanting even from the [locker] room. It was pretty loud out there. I expected it to be this loud in Boston. With the Boston Marathon today, and the Sox game, it was probably pretty fun out there.”
It got even louder once he laid out Ellis.
“It created a little bit of momentum, probably,” said Bruins pugilist Shawn Thornton. “It’s not the first time we’ve seen him do that. He likes to step up every now and again. He’s a pretty solid body back there. Hit aside, he still played an unbelievable game for us. We need everyone to play their best and he’s one of those guys who did.”
Just to keep the fans at the Garden fired up, they kept showing the hit on the Jumbotron.
The Sabres already have an issue with Boychuk because they figure it was his “two-hander” that injured their regular season top goal scorer Thomas Vanek in Game 2 last Saturday in Buffalo. Vanek missed the rest of that game and was scratched for Game 3.
When asked if his hit on Ellis would add to his villain stature in the city of Buffalo, Boychuk smiled.
“I guess so,” he said. “I’m no villain.”
He is to the Sabres this series.