The day after getting his head smashed into the glass by Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom in Thursday’s Game 1 loss, defenseman Dan Boyle practiced early Friday afternoon and said he was “pretty dazed and confused” after the hit, which preceded the Capitals’ game-winning goal with 1.3 seconds left in regulation.
“I knew enough that it was a dangerous situation; I had to get back to the net,” Boyle said, “but I got my bell rung pretty good.”
Alain Vigneault continued his insistence on not talking directly about the officiating in Thursday’s game, but he went out of his way to point out what the officials are letting go, citing Alex Ovechkin’s vicious hit on the Islanders’ Thomas Hickey into the boards during Monday’s Game 7 of the first round. He also hinted that he wants his players to approach the boundary the Capitals have over their first eight playoffs games.
“The standards have been set for what’s allowed as far as hitting from behind,” Vigneault said before Saturday’s Game 2 matinee, which starts at 12:30 p.m. “Ovechkin on Hickey, last night on Boyle — we know what the standards are, play up to those standards.”
Boyle felt his opinion on whether or not he thought the hit was a dirty play didn’t matter.
“I’m sure a lawyer can make a case for it being — it could go either way,” he said. “He doesn’t have a history of too much of that stuff. But either way, I don’t know. That’s up for everyone else to decide.”
Chris Kreider said he didn’t want to see anybody in the league get shaken up the way Boyle did Thursday night and acknowledged there were likely varying opinions on the hit.
“It wasn’t called,” he said. “It seems to be kind of the flavor of the week so far in the first couple of rounds. They’re letting the guys play. It’s consistent, so we’ve got to finish our hits too. They’re definitely throwing their weight around.”
Capitals coach Barry Trotz said “it wasn’t much of a hit. There’s no elbow. There’s nothing.”
Vigneault was still displeased about his players not finishing the final play after Boyle was hit, and he lamented the number of chances Washington’s top line had in Game 1 while calling for improved offensive play. “One goal won’t cut it,” he said.
While Boyle skated, captain Ryan McDonagh missed practice Friday for “maintenance,” Vigneault said. Mats Zuccarello (likely concussion) remained sidelined.
— With Stephen Lorenzo
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