For Brian Boyle, one of his more eventful nights started with a bump and some words with Travis Hamonic in warm-ups and ended with a bang. And in between, a potential tying goal by the former Rangers center was waved off.
Boyle’s putback of a carom of Victor Hedman’s shot off the end boards to the left of Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss at 2:48 of overtime lifted the Lightning to a 5-4 win at Barclays Center yesterday and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven playoff series. It was his first career playoff overtime goal, and brought the Lightning all the way back from 1-0, 3-2 and 4-3 deficits.
“Resilient was a big word for us. We win on a bounce, a good bounce for us,” said Boyle, 31. “It can go either way in OT like that. We still had to have some big saves from Bish [Ben Bishop]. But this series is a long way from over.”
As the crowd was still gathering at Barclays Center, Hamonic shouldered Boyle at the red line during warm-ups and Boyle immediately turned and got in the Islanders defenseman’s face. “Listen, there’s only eight teams left. Guys are excited. I don’t know how it happened. Then we just decided to play the game. He’s effective like that, he’s a physical player, he’s good at what he does, plays with emotion.’’
That’s what the Islanders did in the first, outshooting the Lightning 17-9 and led 1-0 until the waning seconds. Casey Cizikas tripped Boyle at center ice at 18:27, and Ryan Callahan, with his back to the right post, tipped Alex Killorn’s shot off the iron and in with 12.5 seconds left.
The Lightning thought they had tied the game on their first power play, when Boyle’s high stick grazed a rebound floating above the crease that landed and trickled over the goal line with 6:28 left. The red light went on but referee Brad Watson never signaled that the goal counted, and a video review supported his case.
“Good call,” said Boyle, who played 18:51. “I wasn’t sure because I didn’t think it was over my shoulder, and I wasn’t shooting it at the net, but it went in. If it went in against us, we’d obviously expect it to be no goal.”
In the third period, with Bishop pulled for an extra attacker, Nikita Kucherov’s goal on a pass from Jonathan Drouin with 38.4 seconds left sent the game into overtime, when Boyle was in the right spot.
“Our mentality was that we worked so hard to get back that he didn’t want it to go to waste,” Tyler Johnson said. “A couple bounces change games and can change series.”