The defenceman positioned himself perfectly for his 15th goal of the season as the Lightning beat the Calgary Flames 3-2 on Saturday.
Boyle parked himself by the side of the Flames net while Martin St. Louis fed the puck down low to Vincent Lecavalier, who threaded a nice cross-crease pass to Boyle.
“I just tried to get open and get ready for and make contact with it,” said Boyle. “I got all of it really. It’s always nice to play with guys that can put the puck on your stick. It makes it easier for everybody.” Calgary forward Daymond Langkow was penalized for hooking while defenceman Roman Hamrlik was sent to the box for high-sticking at the same time to set up the power play for the Lightning in the extra frame.
“When you get to overtime, you’ve got to be prepared to be disciplined,” said Calgary coach Jim Playfair. “Hooking and high-sticking – two stick penalties that cost us the game.”
The game was a rematch of the 2004 Stanley Cup finals, which the Lightning won in seven games. The Lightning hadn’t been back to Calgary since that Game 6 of that series, when they beat the Flames 3-2 in double overtime.
“The core guys, it’s a little extra special for us,” Boyle said. “I’m sure it’s disappointing on their end too.”
Lecavalier and Nick Tarnasky each had a goal and an assist for the Tampa Bay (39-27-4), which won its second straight game. Jeff Friesen and Craig Conroy replied for the Flames (36-22-10), who lost their second straight after reeling off five straight wins.
For Tarnasky, a native of Rocky Mountain House, Alta., who played for the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League, it was his first-ever multiple-point game in his second NHL season.
“I was pretty excited,” said Tarnasky, who estimated he had 25 to 30 friends and family in the stands to watch him play. “It was my first time coming back since junior. It’s definitely pretty nice. A couple good bounces came my way tonight. It’s obviously pretty exciting to chip in and help the team out.”
Calgary’s starting line of Conroy, Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay applied all sorts of early pressure, but Tampa Bay struck first when Tarnasky scored his fourth of the season for Tampa Bay. Tarnasky picked up a rebound and let go a harmless-looking shot that somehow squeaked through Miikka Kiprusoff’s pads and into the net.
Calgary tied the game in the second period when Friesen scored his second in as many games after going the previous 11 without a goal. Friesen took a long pass from defenceman Rhett Warrener and went in on a two-on-one with linemate Stephane Yelle before firing a wrist shot over Tampa Bay goalie Mark Denis’ glove and into the top corner.
Conroy put the Flames ahead 2-1 at 4:26 of the third period when he banked a shot off of Denis and into the net. The goal was originally waived off, but was then awarded after a video review, much to the delight of the sellout crowd of 19,289 fans at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
“When you are up 2-1 in the third period, you have to make sure you bury teams” Tanguay said. “We’ve been doing it for awhile now. The last couple of months we’ve been losing games in the third period. It’s going to be important for us down the stretch (to make sure) once we’re up, the game’s over.”
Just 2:11 later, Tarnasky fed a nice cross-ice pass to Lecavalier, who tapped in his league-leading 46th goal of the season past Kiprusoff to force overtime.
“I saw Vinny going to the net and figured just try to throw it anywhere around him it will probably go in,” Tarnasky said. “He’s got pretty good hands.”
Notes: The last time Tampa Bay visited Calgary for a regular season game was on Jan. 24, 2004 when the Lightning skated to a 6-2 win. … With the loss, Calgary’s all-time record against Tampa Bay fell to 11-8-1-1. … Country music star Paul Brandt, a Calgary resident, sang the national anthems before the game.