Boyle might be able to reach new heights with Kings
What to make of Brian Boyle?
That’s a question the Kings will be examining when their season is over, when the King-sized forward becomes a restricted free agent.
Boyle, a 6-foot-7, 252-pound center who has spent much of the last two seasons in Manchester, made a compelling case that he belongs in Los Angeles next season by scoring a pair of goals and demonstrating that he’s more than willing to throw his weight around in the Kings’ 6-1 rout of Phoenix on Saturday night.
With their final four games against playoff teams, Kings Coach Terry Murray said he wants to see more of this Boyle.
“Boyle needs to show the kind of game he showed tonight,” Murray said. “Take away the two goals: Show the intensity, show the board play, show the pursuit. Make plays. He needs to be that player, play with an attitude. Then the talent comes out.”
Boyle demonstrated his quick hands early on, working a give-and-go with Kyle Calder in the corner and sliding a back-hander through the legs of Phoenix goalie Al Montoya to give the Kings a 1-0 lead 7:02 into the game. His other goal came when his forecheck cut off Phoenix defenseman David Hale iand led to a loose puck in front of the net. Boyle pounced on it, flicking it into the net.
Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi probably was just as pleased to see Boyle leaving his mark in other areas -- notably on the Coyotes. He planted Joakim Lindstrom into the ice, mixed it up with Peter Prucha, was picked on by Phoenix captain Shane Doan, and couldn’t be budged from the crease by Phoenix’s brutish defenseman Ed Jovanovski.
This seemed to bother Jovanovski enough that he popped Boyle in the mouth -- cutting Boyle’s lip but also incurring a penalty that gave the Kings a two-man advantage on which Justin Williams scored his first goal as a King.
Also making a long-awaited appearance on the scoresheet was Alexander Frolov, who sat out the last five games because of a lower body injury. He returned to add two goals, pushing his team lead to 30.
But Boyle, 24, was clearly the center of attention. He’d contributed only two goals in 23 games -- and matched that in one period.
“This is the place I want to stay,” said Boyle, drafted 26th in 2003. “Hopefully I can impress well enough to be able to stay and get a contract. For me, it’s desperation.”
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