After missing the final three games of the Rangers’ first-round series against the Ottawa Senators due to a concussion, Brian Boyle (Hingham, Mass.) was happy to return to the lineup for Game 2 of the Blueshirts’ battle with the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
|Brian Boyle (Hingham, Mass.) ranked second on the Rangers with 629 faceoffs wins during the regular season. (Getty Images)|
What the 6-foot-7 center wasn’t happy about, however, was his performance.
"I stunk," Boyle told Newsday after the Rangers’ 3-2 loss, which evened the series up at one game apiece.
The former Boston College standout did anything but stink in the first round against the Sens. He tallied three times in four games, burying two game-winning goals, before being knocked out of the lineup by a crushing hit from Ottawa forward Chris Neil.
But on Sunday in Game 2, things certainly didn’t go as smoothly. Boyle, who coach John Tortorella (Melrose, Mass.) has relied upon greatly during his time in New York, put the Rangers down a man when he was guilty of a holding-the-stick penalty with 9:53 gone in the third period, just minutes after Michael Del Zotto had tied the game up at 2-2.
New York was able to kill off the penalty, but just 36 seconds after Boyle went to the box, Brad Richards was whistled for holding. On the ensuing power play, Boyle lost a defensive-zone draw to Caps center Nicklas Backstrom that went directly onto the stick of Alex Ovechkin. He fired a shot past Henrik Lundqvist with 7:27 left in regulation that proved to be the game-winner.
The 27-year-old pivot finished the night with one shot in 15:20 of ice time and won 6-of-14 (43%) faceoffs.
Boyle was hard on himself after the tough loss and pledged to be better going forward.
"I'm not going to accept it [his performance]," he said. "I know the coaches won't, either. I have to do better. I know I can and that was not the way I wanted to play. I'm determined to do more. I'm going to try to do more. I'm not going to make excuses."
Boyle’s chance to get back on track will come Wednesday night at 7:30 down in Washington, where the Rangers will take on the Caps at Verizon Center in Game 3.