Former Ranger Brian Boyle says at this point, there are no secrets in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Brian Boyle couldn’t hide his smirk.
The former Ranger, now a member of the Lightning, was asked at the team’s hotel if he buys in to the mystique of playing a Game 7 at Madison Square Garden, a venue where the Blueshirts are 7-0 all-time in win-or-go-home games.
“You think I buy it?” Boyle asked incredulously. “What am I doing here if I buy it? Why would I fly up from Florida if I bought it?”
Boyle knows as well as anyone what a tough out the Rangers are. But even after its 7-3 blowout loss in Game 6, the Lightning was budding with confidence on Thursday afternoon.
“We’ve played them six times now and we can beat them. We have beaten them,” Boyle said. “It’s obviously not going to be easy, but there are two teams left in the Eastern Conference. I don’t think there are going to be any rabbits pulled out of any hats at this point, at this stage. It’s going to be our best against their best… There are no real secrets at this point.”
“You just never know where hockey is going to take you next,” Steven Stamkos said. “Mo (Brenden Morrow) has been to the Final before. Brian’s been to the Final. I was one game away and you think you’ll be right be back the next year. It’s taken four years to get back, and you have to realize the magnitude of the game and the situation you’re in and really how close you are. And I think our group realizes that… Every time we’ve had our backs against the wall, every time it seems like the other team has momentum, every time, we come out and play well. We respond. That’s all we can do this time.”
Head coach Jon Cooper furthered that confidence by saying the team seems to have gotten over the flu bug that had swept through the locker room before Game 6. Defenseman Braydon Coburn apparently threw up on the bench during Game 5 and did not play in the final two periods.
“Going into tomorrow, for this time of year, we’re going to be as healthy as we can be, I suppose,” Cooper said. “Out of a possible 21 games, this is going to be our 20th. So we’ve kind of taken every series to the max, and things like what happened around Game 6 unfortunately are going to happen. We’re definitely going to be — well, I shouldn’t say that now. Ask me that question (Friday) morning. But I’m pretty sure we’re going to be in a heck of a lot better shape than we were the other night.”
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