PHILADELPHIA — It sounded a little bit like coach- speak when Barry Trotz said it before the game: Johnny Boychuk wasn’t going to be focused on Jakub Voracek, not when there were two points on the line.
Turns out he was right.
Despite Voracek’s questionable hit on Boychuk earlier this month — the one that earned him a two-game suspension and had Boychuk leaving the ice gesturing in anger — the two didn’t tussle in the Wells Fargo rematch Saturday. That was the case, Boychuk said, simply because there was too much on the line.
“It’s a tough sport,” he said. “You don’t want to go out of your way, but you’ve got to do what’s right for the team, and tonight was for the two points and that’s all that matters and you’ve just got to play hard and play smart.”
Afterward, Trotz lauded Boychuk, who missed one game after being leveled by Voracek and was a healthy scratch for five games after that. Still, he hinted that all was not resolved between the two.
“There was no talking about that Voracek thing,” Trotz said. “As I said, those two will figure it out down the road, but Johnny is one of those ultimate type of team guys. He knows how important it is what we’re trying to do here. He knows how important this game was and there was no ‘me’ in his thought process. It was all about ‘we,’ and that’s why he’s one of those guys, you talk about glue guys in the room, he’s one of those guys.”
Despite having some strong words for his team’s effort against Montreal on Thursday, Trotz kept all his forwards as is, with only a change to the first defensive pairing (Boychuk for Thomas Hickey).
“There were some guys I wasn’t really happy with it and there are some guys tremendously working hard and waiting to get into the lineup, but I felt it was important to go back with the group that you sort of challenge [them] a little bit,” he said. “I like their response.”