Brian Boyle

WATCH LIVE: Rangers at Lightning, Game 4 of Eastern Conference Final

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The Rangers got through the first two rounds on the strength of 2-1 victories, but in Games 2 and 3 of the Eastern Conference Final they weren’t able to contain the Tampa Bay Lightning. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers will be looking to bounce back tonight after surrendering six goals in each of those contests.

The game is scheduled to start at 8:00 p.m. ET and you can tune in as early as 7:00 for pregame coverage. The contest will air on NBCSN and it can also be streamed via NBC Sports Live Extra:

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some relevant links:

It goes to eleven: Lightning edge Rangers in track meet

Brian Boyle is right, ‘The Triplets’ are scary good

All eyes on Lundqvist

Twins joining Triplets? Watch out if Stamkos, Killorn keep heating up

Bolts rule Carle (undisclosed) out for Game 4

Brian Boyle is right, ‘The Triplets’ are scary good

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One could excuse many hockey fans for not being totally aware of Tampa Bay’s trio of Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov before the playoffs began. You really can’t miss “The Triplets” if you’ve paid attention to the postseason, though.

Kucherov scored the 6-5 overtime tally in Game 3, yet the chemistry Palat and Johnson showed probably exemplified the trio’s dominance more than anything else. All three forwards scored at least one goal on Wednesday.

Here’s the Kucherov clincher:

While Johnson assisting Palat was a work of art:

The rave reviews keep piling in, too.

Brian Boyle described “The Triplets” as “scary good.” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper really nailed the notion that the trio is making a mainstream breakthrough:

Some might be wondering how the Rangers can slow them down, beyond maybe slowing down the general level of play. One hint may be to try to avoid less-than-ideal matchups.

Here’s the problem, though. If you shift to many sources against “The Triplets,” then Steven Stamkos’ line could take over. Actually, that already seems to be happening; Stamkos is asserting himself while Alex Killorn is making an impression:

For some, this is a coming out party, yet careful observers noticed the trio as one of the best lines in the NHL in 2014-15. That latter group may end up expecting this kind of dominance … but they might not be alone.

It’s hard not to, though, right?

Now we just need to come up with a better nickname than “The Triplets.”

Video: Johnson scores on shorthanded breakaway, Rangers respond

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The New York Rangers had an ideal opportunity to take an early lead against Tampa Bay as Lightning forward Brian Boyle got two minutes for holding and then teammate Jason Garrison was sent to the box for a delay of game less than a minute later.

Not only did the Rangers fail to capitalize on that extended 5-on-3, but Tyler Johnson ended up scoring a shorthanded breakaway goal after Rangers forward Martin St. Louis gave up the puck.

The goal was initially waived off because the net was knocked off its moorings, but a review determined that it was a good goal. You can see that below:

The Rangers were able to get some measure of redemption though as Tampa Bay’s Brenden Morrow was called off for high sticking at 8:15 of the first frame and Chris Kreider was able to convert on the power play:

Lightning get Brian Boyle back for Game 2

Brian Boyle was something of a surprise scratch in Game 1 due to an undisclosed injury. The Lightning were secretive about his status in the lead up to Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final tonight, but as it turns out he’s good to go.

Boyle was put back into the lineup and is projected to play alongside Brenden Morrow and J.T. Brown on the fourth line. Vladislav Namestnikov, who skated with Morrow and Brown in Game 1, will be a healthy scratch after dressing in 11 of the Lightning’s first 12 playoff contests. Namestnikov was limited to just 6:52 minutes of ice time on Saturday.

By contrast, Boyle has averaged 15:36 minutes per contest in the postseason, including 2:49 in shorthanded situations. The Lightning suffered a 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers in Game 1 without him.

“(Boyle’s) a big part of our team,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said after that contest. “He kills penalties for us. He’s a big body. He can wear on teams. Of course we miss him.”

Related:

On second thought, Game 1 made Lightning’s Cooper ‘want to vomit’

WATCH LIVE: Lightning at Rangers

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The New York Rangers’ playoff run has been anything but conventional. Although they were one of the best offensive teams during the regular season, they’ve averaged just two goals per game in the playoffs. That’s given them almost no margin for error, but they’ve gotten this far all the same.

In keeping with how the Rangers have done business throughout the playoffs, they earned a 2-1 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final. Will they continue to win by the narrowest of margins? Or will the Tampa Bay Lightning be the team that solves their defense and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist?

We’ll get the next chapter of that series tonight. Game 2 is set to begin at 8:00 p.m. ET, but you can tune in as early as 7:00 p.m. for pregame coverage. The contest will air on NBCSN and can be streamed via NBC Sports Live Extra:

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some relevant links:

Zuccarello skates, but Rangers say he’s still out indefinitely

Cooper: ‘What got Montreal back in the series was what we did for big parts of the game’

On second thought, Game 1 made Lightning’s Cooper ‘want to vomit’

Can the Rangers win the Cup like this?

A good kicking: Rangers best Lightning for 1-0 series lead

Bolts coach makes it clear why Drouin isn’t playing

Bolts mum on what’s ailing Brian Boyle