BOSTON -- Hard work and patience will pay off Monday for Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk, as the 25-year-old will make his 2009 regular season debut at TD Garden against Colorado.
Boychuk takes the lineup spot vacated by the injured Dennis Wideman, who's out with an upper-body injury suffered Saturday night.
"(I feel) pretty good actually," Boychuk said upon arrival at the arena. "I'm just going to go in and try to play simple hockey and hopefully score a couple goals, maybe."
Boychuk has experience lighting the lamp. Last season with the Boston farm club at Providence (AHL) he scored 20 times en route to winning the award for the league's best defenseman. His NHL career consists of one game with the Bruins last winter and four games for the Avalanche in 2007-08. So there might be a little extra motivation for Boychuk today.
"It's my old team. I want to just sort of go out there and show them what they're missing & beat them too," he said.
Head coach Claude Julien said Wideman's injury isn't long-term and the player is day-to-day.
Tuukka Rask will be making his second straight start in goal for the Bruins.
Goalie coach or revealer
Julien came up with the idea to let his goaltending coach Bob Essensa consult some of the club's shooters on scoring in shootouts. Marc Savard credited video sessions with Essensa for helping him after he scored the game-winner Saturday night. Boston assistant coaches are not allowed to speak with the media, so the question remains: does Essensa -- a solid NHL goaltender in his day -- have to turn in his "goalie union" card now that he's helping point out other netminders' weaknesses?
Savard was ranked No. 11 on the Golf Digest list of Top 150 athlete-golfers, which was recently unveiled. With a 0.6 handicap, Savard was the second-best hockey player on the list after Brett Hull and his 0.0 handicap. Savard said he's never played a round with Hull, but maybe someday.
After winning their first game of the weekend Friday, the Providence Bruins lost their games on Saturday and Sunday. The P-Bruins now stand at 2-2-0 on the year. Goaltender Matt Dalton made his pro debut Sunday with 28 saves in a 3-2 loss to Hartford.