With Two Goals in Two Playoff Games, Boyle Sustains a Late-Season Renaissance - New York Times

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With Two Goals in Two Playoff Games, Boyle Sustains a Late-Season Renaissance - New York Times
Apr 15th 2012, 03:50

The history of the Stanley Cup playoffs is filled with unlikely goal scorers. Two games in, Rangers center Brian Boyle has emerged as an early candidate to join John Druce and Chris Kontos on the list of surprise offensive heroes.

Boyle's goal at 2 minutes 41 seconds of the third period gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead over Ottawa in Game 2 of the teams' first-round series. The Senators won, 3-2, in overtime.

After scoring six goals in the first 73 games of the regular season, Boyle has seven goals in his last 11 games — including one in each of the first two games of the playoffs.

The 6-foot-7 Boyle does have a scoring touch. He scored 21 goals last season, making his meager output in 2011-12 a source of frustration for him. He said it felt like there was a "force field" in front of the opposing goal.

But Boyle has found his touch at the right time. There were promising signs late in the regular season, as Boyle positioned himself in front of the net more consistently. His deflections started going in.

"It's been good the last few weeks, offensively, anyways," Boyle said before Game 2. "The second half of the year, there were some tough bounces. The first half of the year, I could have played a lot better. I want to keep building. There are other areas of my game that I can still improve upon."

On Saturday, he finished a slick passing play set up by Michael Del Zotto and Ruslan Fedotenko with a wrist shot past Senators goaltender Craig Anderson. For Boyle, the goal was personal revenge after he was jumped and pounded by Matt Carkner of the Senators 2:15 into the game. The Senators marked Boyle for retaliation after he roughed up Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson during a sequence in Game 1.

ALFREDSSON INJURED For the second time this season, Daniel Alfredsson of the Senators was unable to finish a game at Madison Square Garden, apparently because of a head injury.

Alfredsson absorbed a blow to the head from the Rangers rookie forward Carl Hagelin at 10:32 of the second period of Game 2. Accompanied by an Ottawa trainer, Alfredsson left the ice immediately after the incident and never returned.

The Senators announced during the third period that Alfredsson, 39, would not return to the game but did not provide any other details.

Hagelin was given a five-minute penalty for elbowing and could be subject to supplementary discipline if Brendan Shanahan, the N.H.L.'s vice president for hockey operations, reviews the play.

The Senators scored on the subsequent power play when defenseman Erik Karlsson's shot toward the Rangers goal was accidentally deflected past Henrik Lundqvist by Michael Del Zotto to tie the game, 1-1, at 13:50 of the second period.

Alfredsson sustained a concussion in Ottawa's victory over the Rangers on Oct. 29 when he was hit by Wojtek Wolski. The next week, Alfredsson said he was experiencing discomfort while playing with his children, but he returned to the lineup after missing only five games.

It was the first concussion of Alfredsson's career.

A version of this article appeared in print on April 15, 2012, on page SP9 of the New York edition with the headline: With Two Goals in Two Playoff Games, Boyle Sustains a Late-Season Renaissance.

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