Tag: Tampa Bay Lightning

Brian Boyle

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.”


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:


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

Bolts mum on what’s ailing Brian Boyle


Ah yes, the playoffs — where injury information is guarded with the kind of zeal normally reserved for the Secret Service.

On Monday, Lightning head coach Jon Cooper offered virtually nothing on the status of injured forward Brian Boyle, who (somewhat surprisingly) missed Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Rangers with an upper-body injury.

“The update is there is no update,” Cooper said on Monday.

The Bolts further added to the mystery by having Boyle skate this morning, followed by an “organizational decision” to keep him away from reporters afterward. There was no word if he’d draw in for Game 2 or not.

The towering fourth-line center has been a key contributor for Tampa Bay this spring. He appeared in all 13 playoff games prior to Saturday’s 2-1 loss at MSG and, while he only has two points, Boyle has been good in the faceoff circle, sitting third on the team in draws taken (162) and in winning percentage (53.7).

The former Ranger also has a wealth of playoff experience, with 71 games on his resume.

Related: Bolts coach makes it clear why Drouin isn’t playing

Bolts coach makes it clear why Drouin isn’t playing

Jonathan Drouin

Many have wondered why the Tampa Bay Lightning keep scratching Jonathan Drouin, and when they have played him, why he’s served a marginal role. It’s pretty clear that the trust isn’t there between Drouin and Jon Cooper just yet, though.

More specifically, Cooper made it clear that he doesn’t believe that the 20-year-old’s two-way game is there yet, as the Tampa Times’ Joe Smith reports.

“There is more than one net in a rink. There’s two. You have to be able to play in front of both,” Cooper said of Drouin.


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

Jon Cooper

The New York Rangers only beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in Game 1, but they controlled much of the proceedings. It was surprising to see a fairly optimistic Jon Cooper after the contest, then.

… That optimism sure faded after Cooper got a hold of the game tape, though.

Just breathe in the (kind of hilarious) negativity Cooper shared after breaking everything down, via the Tampa Bay Times:

“There’s the times you think you played okay, and you watch the tape and you want to vomit,” Cooper said. “And that was a little bit of how (Saturday) night went. For two periods, I thought we were a little better than we were until I watched the tape. The Rangers played extremely well, but we were stubbing our toe all night. So we were just handing them tickets to the movie, and we were a turnstile and watching them go by. We can’t do that. We can’t be giving pucks away, we can’t be turning them over, we can’t not make them go the 200 feet.”

“We’ve got to be much better than we were. And I’m quite convinced we will.”

Great stuff.

Here’s the thing: Cooper’s assessment on Sunday was a lot more accurate than his post-game grading.

The Lightning were thoroughly outplayed on Saturday, allowing a troubling number of odd-man rushes and dangerous chances, with Ben Bishop almost keeping them in long enough to steal a win. By just about every measure, it seemed a lot more lopsided than 2-1:



(Chart via Natural Stat Trick)

The question, then, is how much of this is the Lightning having an “off game” and how much is it the Rangers just playing like the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winners?

Perhaps lineup changes may factor in? It sounds like Brian Boyle’s Game 2 availability is very much in doubt, but Cooper can still make some tweaks, including perhaps adding Nikita Nesterov back to the defensive mix.

Either way, there’s no doubt Tampa Bay needs to improve its play. At least Cooper realizes that now.