Dan Boyle (Bruce Kluckhohn/Getty Images)
New York Rangers blueliner Dan Boyle will be good to go for Game 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning after taking a massive hit from Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik in Game 7 of the second round. Boyle, 38, is one of only two Stanley Cup champions on the Rangers' roster.
After the hit Rangers veteran blueliner Dan Boyle took from Brooks Orpik, nobody would blame him if he were to be out of the lineup when New York opens the Eastern Conference final against the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday afternoon. That won't be the case, however.
According to New York coach Alain Vigneault, Boyle will be in the lineup when the Rangers take the ice for Saturday's matinee. There were concerns that Boyle had possibly suffered a concussion following the hit -- and those concerns still remain -- but questions about whether or not he would suit up were put to bed. When asked about the status of the 38-year-old defenseman, Vigneault said Boyle is 'all good' for Game 1.
The hit that Boyle took, which happened midway through the third period and took him out of the Rangers' Game 7 Wednesday night against the Washington Capitals, was enough to stagger him as he tried to leave the ice. Twice Boyle got to his feet, only to fall back down with little control over his lower body.
Losing Boyle would have likely resulted in the Rangers turning to Matt Hunwick for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final. Hunwick suited up for all five games of the Rangers first-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but averaged 13:17 over the course of the series. So far this post-season, Boyle has logged close to 20 minutes per outing.
In the playoffs, Boyle has two goals and four points, including the game-winning marker in the Rangers' crucial Game 6 victory over the Capitals. During the regular season, Boyle skated more than 20 minutes per game and notched nine goals and 20 points in 65 contests.
Boyle is one of only two players with a Stanley Cup ring. Coincidentally, Boyle's ring -- along with teammate Martin St-Louis' -- came as a member of the Lightning, the team the Rangers will need to dispatch in order to move on the Stanley Cup final.