Brian Boyle had a miserable offensive regular season for the New York Rangers where he only scored two goals while registering three assists. But with the lights shining bright, Boyle has stepped his game up.
He tallied a goal and an assist in the Rangers’ crucial game three victory over the Washington Capitals. Boyle’s first goal ended the Rangers’ scoreless streak that had lasted 124 minutes.
Boyle is a big player for the Rangers when he is healthy. He is a big forward who plays a solid two way game, and he is also one of the team’s top four penalty killers and wins face-offs at big times. But in game three he showed he has some offensive skills as well.
The Rangers’ first two goals were with their second power play unit on the ice. This unit consisted of Boyle, Derick Brassard, and Mats Zuccarello, and they moved the puck very well. Brassard’s goal can mostly be attributed to Boyle as he won the face-off back to the point and parked himself in front of the net. After a point shot was almost deflected in by Boyle, Zuccarello dished the puck to Brassard who snapped a quick shot by Capitals’ goaltender Braden Holtby.
This second unit could prove to be huge for the Rangers. With the first unit not getting anything done they were the first to snap the power play drought. Even though Boyle’s goal was not counted as a power play goal on the score sheet as it came as time was expiring, Boyle could be the key factor on this power play as he wins face-offs to set up things up for the unit.
Boyle has proven in past playoff series that he can be a game changer as a depth player. He scored three goals in last year’s opening round series against the Ottawa Senators, and he must continue to chip in offensively in order for the Rangers to advance.