If Brian Boyle hadn’t already shown his worth to the Tampa Bay Lightning in terms of being a checking-line center, he’s showing this post-season that he also has the ability to make things happen offensively and that he can even add a little flair.
In Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final, the Lightning were trailing 3-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins heading into the final frame. Tampa Bay carried the play from the outset of the third period in an attempt to get anything going offensively, and eventually it was Boyle who would break through, although fortuitously as his shot from the right wing boards would deflect off of Pittsburgh’s Phil Kessel and into the net.
But for as lucky as Boyle’s first goal was, his second tally made Boyle look like a bonafide sniper. Again on the right wing, Boyle managed to pick up a bouncing puck that was thrown cross-ice by defenseman Slater Koekkoek, settle it and fire home a seeing-eye shot that went perfectly into the top corner. And then Boyle gave us the best celebration of the post-season, blowing a kiss to the Tampa Bay bench. Seriously:
We’re not quite sure this is going to catch on quite like Jaromir Jagr's salute or be as memorable as Alex Ovechkin's hot stick celebration, but Boyle’s celebration looked like the perfect mixture of the Lightning pivot being excited and unsure of how to celebrate at the same time. Who knows, maybe it was planned or he had the idea beforehand, but it’s a hilarious way to celebrate a goal.
Entering the 2015-16 playoffs, Boyle had never scored more than three goals in a single post-season, and that includes his time in the AHL, so this is new territory for him. His two goals Tuesday night marked his fourth and fifth goals of the playoffs.
He’ll have at least one more game to add to that total, too, because his second tally in Game 6 brought the Lightning within one, but that’s as close as they got to tying the contest. Five minutes after Boyle’s goal, the Penguins’ Bryan Rust scored an insurance marker and Nick Bonino added an empty-netter to seal a 5-2 victory for Pittsburgh and force a Game 7.