TORONTO – New York Rangers centre Brian Boyle probably wishes he could play the Toronto Maple Leafs every night.
Boyle scored his third goal in three games against Toronto on Saturday as the Rangers beat the Maple Leafs 2-0. His fourth goal of the young season also matched a career high.
“I can’t explain that, but I’ll take ’em anytime I can get them,” said Boyle, a native of Hingham, Mass.
Listed at six-foot-seven, 252 pounds, the 25-year-old has never been known as a big-time sniper.
But Boyle had 31 goals with the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs in 2007-08. He picked up four goals in just eight games with the Los Angeles Kings that season when given a change with big club.
The Kings traded Boyle to the New York Rangers at the 2009 draft for a 3rd round pick in 2010.
Boyle attributes part of his quick start to the power skating work he’s done with former Canadian and World Champion pairs figure skater Barbara Underhill.
“I owe her a lot,” Boyle said. “Along with my trainer back home, they’ve put in a lot of work.”
Boyle had to battle for a roster spot this season and said his work with Underhill helped him earn his way on the team.
“I was confident. The work I put in over the summer and the help I got from Barb, I owe her a lot right now,” he said.
Boyle’s goal Saturday night showed just how much his skating has improved. He picked up enough speed through the neutral zone to get around a Toronto defender at the faceoff circle and roof a backhand over Jean-Sebastien Giguere’s shoulder.
Rangers head coach John Tortorella has been impressed with Boyle’s play through the early part of the season.
“He’s a guy that we’ve been hard on trying to develop and go through the process with him, and he accepts it and takes it,” Tortorella said. “He’s become a pretty important guy for us here.”