On March 8, the Florida Panthers came to town, and Mike Sullivan told Brian Boyle to take a seat.
Teddy Blueger is in. Brian Boyle is the healthy scratch.— Taylor Haase (@TaylorHaasePGH) March 8, 2022
In the seven games prior to that March 8 scratch, Boyle recorded zero points and a -1 rating; and seeing as Boyle wasn’t even sure if he would be playing in the NHL this season, answering that slump with a scratch wasn’t shocking news.
The Penguins have signed forward Brian Boyle and defenseman Matt Bartkowski to professional tryout contracts.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) September 3, 2021
Boyle and Bartkowski will attend training camp on PTOs. The training camp schedule will be announced at a later date.
Details: https://t.co/wLn9J42Atj pic.twitter.com/rUbfFRN2ji
What’s surprising is what Boyle done in the 18 games since he returned to the lineup.
In this stretch, Boyle has ten even points (4-6—10). Let’s see how that ranks among all Penguins, from March 8 until Saturday’s matinee loss to the Bruins:
- 6th in total goals (4)
- 7th in total points (10)
- T-3rd in even-strength goals (4)
- T-4th in even-strength points (10)
Over the 44 games prior to the March 8 scratch, Boyle averaged 10:41. Since his return, his ATOI has climbed to 11:15 a game.
Part of that is because of Boyle’s work on the penalty kill, which has been especially useful in some of the Penguins’ less disciplined games as of late. The other half is because of the trust he seems to have regained with Mike Sullivan at 5v5.
That trust is paying off. Boyle’s solid even-strength play has brought life to a fourth line whose recently-demoted wingers, Evan Rodrigues and Kasperi Kapanen, have been having trouble finding the scoresheet.