Johnny Boychuk will get MRI on injured lower back

By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer

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After leaving the ice on a stretcher Thursday night, Johnny Boychuk will have an MRI today in Boston according to head coach Claude Julien.

The Bruins defenseman suffered a lower-back injury when he was hit awkwardly into the boards by Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty. Boychuk appeared to be in significant pain on the ice before being loaded onto a stretcher and out of the arena. He did end up traveling back to Boston with the team, however.

Pacioretty will reportedly not have a hearing with the NHL and that's not really a surprise. There appeared to be no malice on Pacioretty's part. Perhaps it was a bit reckless due to the proximity to the boards, but beyond that the hit was a hockey play with an unfortunate result.

More is expected to be known about the 29-year-old defenseman's condition Saturday according to Julien. With the MRI scheduled for today, it's hard to imagine a scenario in which Boychuk will play for the Bruins Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Boychuk has been an important piece of Boston's defense corps. He has played more than 20 minutes a night, registering six points and a plus-8 rating in 27 games for the Bs, who are now one point behind the first-place Habs. If out for a significant period of time, Boychuk will be a tough player to replace.

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