Boyle Scores Twice in First Training Camp Scrimmage
Brian Boyle may not have liked losing Sunday's first scrimmage of training camp on Anton Stralman's goal with 2.7 seconds left in regulation, but the 6-foot-7 veteran forward had to feel good about his own performance in his White Team's 3-2 defeat at the hands of Stralman's Blue Squad. Boyle scored both of his team's goals, and doled out a slew of punishing hits as the Rangers scrimmaged for the first time this week under the watchful eye of new head coach Alain Vigneault.
"Anton scores that goal with just a few seconds left and it just (ticked) me off," stated Boyle after the scrimmage. "It (stinks), probably because we haven't played anything meaningful in months. You just want to win. It's the worst feeling in the world to lose. But it's always fun to score!"
Vigneault was less concerned with the outcome of the scrimmage---the Rangers would win the game either way!---than about continuing the evaluation process for the 46 players remaining in camp. And he had been more than pleased with what he has seen so far from Boyle---not only in the scrimmage, but throughout the past week.
"In talking to Brian the thing that stood out to me is that he wants to win and wants to be able to contribute in whichever role I think he suits best," Vigneault stated on Sunday. "I like the way Brian did everything today--he was strong away from the puck, and when he had the puck he used his size to take it to the net."
Boyle did exactly what the new coach has preached since Day One of training camp, and that is get to the net and try and score goals from in front. That gameplan worked like a charm when Boyle crashed Martin Biron's crease and had a rebound bounce off his skate and over the goal line just 78 seconds into the scrimmage. It proved successful again when Boyle tied the game with 1:11 to play in the third period by charging to the front of the net and firing a short shot past Johan Hedberg.
"I want them to want me because I want to be here," explained Boyle. "I wanted to hit the ground running (in training camp)."
Boyle's first-period score held up until the third period when the entire stanza was played with the teams alternating power plays. With a bit more room to operate, the Blue squad scored three times while the White Team scored once. Osacr Lindberg---whom Vigneault said will get "a real solid look" in camp---tied the game by roofing a Jesper Fast pass off the rush past goaltender Cam Talbot at 7:30 of the third period before Benoit Pouliot cashed in a rebound to put the Blue team ahead 2-1 at 11:08. Stralman's one-timer was the last-second game-winner after Boyle had pulled the White Team even.
Henrik Lundqvist started and played half the scrimmage in goal for the White Team. He did not yield a goal, and made a pair of sensational gloves saves on John Moore---one in the opening period, and the other in the second. Talbot allowed three goals in relief of Lundqvist.
Biron started and surrendered only the one goal while playing half the game for the Blue Team. The veteran Hedberg also allowed a single goal while playing in half of the scrimmage.
Among notable news from the scrimmage was Chris Kreider impressing while skating on a line with Brad Richards and Rick Nash, the defensemen noticeably joining the rush as often as possible---in particular Moore, and Derek Dorsett's strong work on the penalty kill, which included a breakaway that was snuffed along the goal line by Talbot.
Forwards Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin, both recovering from off-season shoudler surgery and not yet cleared for contact, did not play. Neither did forward J.T. MIller---who is sidelined with a sore hamstring---not defenseman Stu Bickel---who was idled by a sore back.
Share your thoughts below on Sunday's scrimmage, including Brian Boyle's solid performance.