For Rangers Brian Boyle and Brandon Dubinsky, an early week practice provided a moment of glee in a season that has been marked by frustration for both.
Dubinsky controlled the puck on the wing as Boyle bore down on Henrik Lundqvist. A quick, accurate pass connected a split second before Boyle’s snap shot beat Lundqvist high, popping the goaltender’s water bottle from its perch atop the goal. Dubinsky’s excited shriek filled the rink as he enveloped his centerman in a celebratory embrace.
When asked if he and his linemate enjoy scoring on Lundqvist, Boyle responded “Yeah, always.”
Individually, the playoffs offer Boyle and Dubinsky the opportunity to redeem themselves from regular seasons that were not what either envisioned.
Dubinsky totaled 34 points in 77 games. Boyle finished with 26 points.
The statistical drop off for both became even more pronounced when factoring in that Boyle set a career high in goals (21), points (35) and penalty minutes (74) last year while Dubinsky averaged 17.75 goals in his first four NHL seasons.
Throughout the regular season, head coach John Tortorella had routinely warned of the danger of judging a player by statistics alone. For Boyle and Dubinsky, the lack of tangible offensive production has weighed heavy on their minds.
“It’s no short to say it’s been a nightmare of a year for me,” Dubinsky said. “It’s tough. You have expectations for yourself. When you don’t meet those expectations it weighs and it continues to build.”
“Towards the end [of the season] if you look at where we scored, it was
really close, around the net,” Boyle said. “That’s kind of the way we’re
going to have to go in, especially for the playoffs.”
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman for updates throughout the postseason.