Brian Boyle’s second goal of the season for the New Jersey Devils came at just the right moment.
The Devils’ forward began the night taking a ceremonial faceoff on Hockey Fights Cancer Night at the Prudential Center on Friday, with his wife and family dropping the puck before taking on the Vancouver Canucks.
Boyle, who missed the first 10 games of the season from recovering from a September diagnosis of chronic myelogenous leukemia. His first game of the season was against the Canucks in Vancouver on November 1, he notched his first assist of the season a week later in front of the New Jersey crowd against the St. Louis Blues, and then scored an emotional first goal against the Oilers on November 9.
He added another emotional punctuation to the evening, finishing off Will Butcher’s slick pass halfway through the second period to give New Jersey a 2-1 lead.
The goal was followed by chants of ‘Bri-an Boy-le’ throughout the arena, and the man himself noticed.
“How about that?” he said on the MSG broadcast between periods. “I’d like to tell you I was dialed in on the game, but I heard it loud and clear. Thank you, thank you everybody. It’s remarkable, the support I’ve gotten.”
Much of that comes from his teammates, who were alongside him as he made his way back to playing.
“He’s such a positive influence,” Adam Henrique said before the game. “His attitude was the biggest thing that amazed me. He’s still the relaxed guy in the room, laughing and joking around.”
“What he’s gone through, what his family has gone through meant a lot of the team,” Devils coach John Hynes said. “It allows you, probably quicker, to get closer to someone. It’s not a hockey situation, its a family situation. Now to have him back with us, what he brings on and off the ice, is exactly what we need here.”
Boyle's goal was crucial for the Devils, who held on for a 3-2 win.