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Dustin Byfuglien looked like man against boys vs. Devils

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When Dustin Byfuglien is at his best (and scariest), he physically dominates in ways that make you think of:

  • A man among boys.
  • A bowling bowl clobbering pins.
  • A hot knife through butter.
  • The windshield that bugs are flying off as a car barrels down a highway.

(OK, that last one might just be me, but still.)

Sunday presented some examples of Byfuglien’s frightening prowess.

Early on in a game that the Winnipeg Jets are currently running away with, Byfuglien shed New Jersey Devils forward Blake Coleman in a domineering moment of puck possession, basically shrugging him off.

It turns out that wasn’t even the most dominant moment for Byfuglien. Instead, it came when he delivered a vicious hit on Devils forward Brian Boyle, another forward who brings robust size to a league where beefier players are becoming less abundant. On that check, Boyle looked downright undersized.

Moments later, Ben Lovejoy tried to send a message to Byfuglien, who replied by knocking Lovejoy to the ice.

Again, there are times when you need to accept the inevitable: death, taxes, and Byfuglien being too much for you to contain.

As far as chatter about supplementary discipline might go, note that Byfuglien didn’t receive a match penalty. According to NHL.com’s box score, he was whistled for charging and unsportsmanlike conduct for that boisterous stretch.

Should there be more? Two different observers provided conflicting responses moments apart, including PHT’s Scott Billeck:

Paul Maurice had an interesting take on Byfuglien being penalized.

“It was a car wreck, right. Somebody had to go to jail,” Maurice said, via Billeck. “Just two enormous men coming together. And something bad had to have happened.”

One way or another, it’s best to avoid any collisions with Byfuglien, whether you believe they’re dirty or squeaky clean. Byfuglien’s beast mode seems to translate to morphing into Godzilla.

UPDATE The Jets ended up beating the Devils 5-2. Byfuglien generated an assist in Winnipeg’s win.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

The Buzzer: Brian Boyle’s inspirational night

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Three Stars

1. Brian Boyle, New Jersey Devils

Boyle scored his first career hat trick on Hockey Fights Cancer night in Pittsburgh. You can’t write this kind of thing. Boyle was instrumental in New Jersey’s 5-1 thumping of the Penguins and continued to be an inspiration to anyone who is fighting cancer. Boyle’s hatty was of the natural variety, scoring once at even strength before notching the next two on the power play.

2. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers might be without their starter and their backup in goal, but when Giroux is on fire, it doesn’t seem to matter. The Flyers captain had two goals and added an assist as Philly closed out a four-game road trip with a 5-2 win over the surging Arizona Coyotes. The Flyers went 3-0-1 on the road trip despite their issues in the crease. Giroux had six points over those four games.

3. Keith Kinkaid, New Jersey Devils

While Boyle stole the show with his three-goal game, Kinkaid was quietly putting together a solid outing between the pipes. He stopped 35-of-36 shots en route to his sixth win of the season while snapping a two-game skid. Kinkaid made five saves on the power play to make sure the Penguins went 0-for-3.

Highlights of the Night

Boyle’s hat trick:

What a pass:

What a pass?

Factoids

Scores

Islanders 4, Canadiens 3 (OT)

Bruins 2, Stars 1 (OT)

Capitals 4, Oilers 2

Devils 5, Penguins 1

Flyers 5, Coyotes 2


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Boyle scores first career hat trick on Hockey Fights Cancer Night

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Brian Boyle has been through hell and back over the past year, and that’s what made Tuesday night in Pittsburgh that much more special for the New Jersey Devils forward.

Boyle had never scored a hat trick in his 12-year NHL career, but that was about to change on a fitting night in Pittsburgh.

The Devils were in town to face the Penguins, who were hosting Hockey Fights Cancer Night. Fighting cancer is something Boyle knows all too well.

The 33-year-old was diagnosed with Chronic myeloid leukemia last September and missed the opening of the 2017-18 season. Boyle would return, helping lead the Devils to the playoffs, making a pit stop at the NHL All-Star game and becoming an inspiration to anyone entrenched in a battle of their own.

Just over a week ago, Boyle announced his cancer had gone into remission and on Tuesday night Boyle, now a cancer survivor, stuck it to the disease one more time as he scored his first career hat trick — a natural hatty for good measure.

Some stories just write themselves.

The NHL began its 20th annual Hockey Fights Cancer initiative on Nov. 1. Each team across the NHL hosts one home game dedicated to the cause.

This year, Boyle’s wife Lauren was named the official Hockey Fights Cancer ambassador.

NHL.com is publishing several stories from Lauren, who will detail her personal experience as the couple battled the disease.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Lauren Boyle becomes Hockey Fights Cancer ambassador

Just over a year ago, Lauren Boyle was searching the internet for information on leukemia after husband Brian’s blood test showed serious irregularities.

Now, she’s hoping to tell the hockey world her story.

Lauren Boyle was unveiled Thursday as the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer ambassador after her family’s turbulent 14-month ordeal. The New Jersey Devils forward who doubles as her husband and father of their two children recently announced his cancer is in remission, and she’s thankful for that and a ”miracle” diagnosis that their now 3-year-old son is not after all battling the disease.

”I just pray, that I can help anyone if they need it, whether it be advice or what got us through day to day from little things like how we changed Brian’s diet to praying or just how we spent our time,” Lauren Boyle said. ”I would like to also raise money for research. It’s incredible what they can do with the right time and money.”

Research helped develop a pill that Brian began taking twice daily the night in September 2017 he found out he had Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. And research not long after helped a doctor at Boston Children’s Hospital determine their son, Declan, had Arteriovenous malformation of the mandible rather than fatal carcinoma of the mandible – at odds of 1 percent.

Lauren Boyle’s story should bring awareness to the NHL and NHL Players’ Association’s Hockey Fights Cancer initiative this month just as Nicholle Anderson’s did a year ago. The wife of Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson beat throat cancer and served in this ambassador role in 2017.

Before the two women met at the NHL Awards in June when Brian received the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication, the Boyles went through a roller-coaster time that featured the birth of their second child, news of his cancer and Declan’s scare. In that time, they managed everything about Brian’s life and at times had to put hockey aside so he could accompany her to pick up their son from surgery because of concern he could bleed out while she was driving.

”One time there was a snowstorm and we had to charter a plane, which we don’t really have business doing,” Lauren said. ”But it is what it is and you’re going to just do whatever it takes to save your son.”

Brian played in the All-Star Game, helped the Devils make the playoffs and now has four points in nine games. As Declan navigates a difficult but not impossible road through AVM that has so far included nine operations and the loss of some teeth, he was glad to see his father sometimes gets one or two knocked out.

”We told him that the tooth fairy came early,” Lauren said. ”Brian got a high stick a week or two ago and Declan was kind of happy to see that someone else gets boo-boos, too.”

Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/tag/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Devils’ Brian Boyle says his cancer is in remission

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Just before the start of the 2017-18 season, New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle was diagnosed with Chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of bone marrow cancer.

Even after the diagnosis Boyle remained determined to get back on the ice as soon as possible, and after missing the first month of the season was able to return to game-action on Nov. 1 and ended up playing in 69 games for the Devils, scoring 10 goals and 13 assists, while also appearing in all five of the team’s playoff games.

Along with his return to the lineup, he ended up participating in the NHL All-Star weekend and was the winner of the 2017-18 Masterton trophy, which is given out annually to the player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey.”

On Wednesday, Boyle had some great news to share as he announced that his cancer is now in full remission after receiving his most recent blood tests on Monday.

Here is what Boyle had to say about the results on Wednesday, via NHL.com:

“A test (BCR-ABL1) looks for the leukemia cells in your blood and when I was first diagnosed, it was at 75 percent,” Boyle said Wednesday. “At the end of last season, it was at .08 percent, and in July I was .04 percent. The results showed all zeros on Monday. It’s full molecular remission, and I feel really good. It was kind of the way the progression was happening the last few tests. When I told my wife, she was excited and got emotional.

“The game plan has been working well, and now I’m just going to continue with it. It was good news, but it doesn’t change a whole lot for me and I’ll continue taking the medicine.”

Boyle was originally told that it could take up to 18 months for the cancer to reach full remission, but it happened for him in just a little more than 12 months.

He has appeared in all six games for the Devils this season, already scoring three goals (including one in each of the past two games) and an assist.

Boyle is set to play in his 700th career game on Thursday night when the Devils take on the Nashville Predators.

He is currently in the second year of a two-year, $5.1 million contract he signed with the Devils in the summer of 2017.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.