Rangers’ Boyle targeted at opening of Game 2

Carkner pounded on Boyle after tackling him to the ice at the opening of Game 2.

Senators coach Paul MacLean’s intent was obvious the moment he submitted his roster.

Brian Boyle was being targeted for retribution by the Senators last night in response to his Game 1 pummeling of Erik Karlsson.

“Maybe,” was Boyle’s response when asked if the Senators wanted to get even with him for the Karlsson incident after the Rangers’ 3-2 overtime loss to Ottawa in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. “That might have been.”

Ottawa defenseman Matt Carkner and right wing Chris Neil fought Boyle in separate first period episodes.

The Senators had freely talked about playing more physically heading into Game 2. MacLean opened the game with enforcers Carkner, Neil, Zack Smith and Zenon Konopka on the ice.  

The first of the two incidents occurred 2:15 into the game. Carkner, who had three fighting majors in the regular season, slammed Boyle into the half boards before he threw three punches in front of referee Ian Walsh. The Ottawa defenseman continued punching Boyle, who had fallen onto the ice and was defenseless. Brandon Dubinsky dove onto Carkner to pull the Ottawa enforcer off of Boyle.

The Rangers received a five-minute power play as Carkner was assessed a two-minute minor for instigating, a five-minute major for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct.

However, they lost Dubinsky for the game as he was given a two-minute minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct. He pled his case to Walsh and Stephen Walkom before being ejected. Dubinsky spiked a vat of Gatorade as he stormed to the dressing room.

His actions met with John Tortorella’s approval.

“Yes,” Tortorella said when asked if was pleased with Dubinsky’s response.

Boyle fought Neil 6:02 after the initial brawl. Neil challenged Boyle prior to a neutral-zone faceoff. The two mostly grappled.

“I’m not talking about that,” Boyle said to repeated questions about what had transpired in the first period.

It is impossible to adequately predict how Brendan Shanahan’s Department of Player Safety office will respond to the incident. The decision to suspend Carkner should be easy, but that office determined that Shea Weber should only be fined $2,500 for attempting to drive Henrik Zetterberg face first through the glass at the end of Game 1 of the Nashville-Detroit series.

Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman throughout the playoffs.


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