SUNRISE, FL – The words were flying easily about Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle after his Herculean performance in Game 3 as the last frontline center standing with both Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci out of the lineup.
“He just seemed like he was a monster. He was a man possessed out there the way he would just take pucks to the net, loved him in the faceoff dot and I thought he controlled the middle of the ice. At both goal lines he made some really good plays,” said Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery. “He ended plays in our zone, and he made plays in our zone. That second goal with him being at the net-front was a really good sign for us offensively, but it was a really good sign for him that he’s in those areas. That’s where he scores.”
Coyle finished with a goal scored in the second period to help the B’s build a 2-0 lead through the first two periods and was “an animal” throughout in Boston’s 4-2 win at FLA Live Arena that helped them build a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Coyle finished with the net-front tip of a Brad Marchand shot for the score and was one of Boston’s best offensive players with five shots on net and eight shot attempts overall in 16:36 of bruising action while taking 19 draws for the Black and Gold as well.
The best part of Coyle’s goal was watching him physically dominate Aleksander Barkov at the Florida net and overwhelm with his size and strength to get a stick on the puck traveling to the net. It was going to be a challenge for him to center Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk in a spot usually reserved for a legendary Hall of Famer, and Coyle showed he was up for the job on Friday night.
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“He’s an animal, through and through, especially around playoff time,” said Boston Bruins netminder Linus Ullmark. “He has a lot of composure and routine. He’s hit 100 plus games now in the playoffs and it goes to show that he’s been through a lot, and he knows what needs to be done every single night in these kinds of games. It’s a blessing to have him.”
Coyle has been solid throughout this first round series to date utilizing his size and speed combo to good effect against the Panthers, and it should remind everyone how good the Weymouth native was in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final run when he had nine goals and 16 points in 24 games while being an absolute beast for other teams to handle.
Certainly, the unassuming Coyle appreciates the comments but also quickly redirected it all back to a Boston Bruins team that played their best game of the first round series in Friday night’s Game 3 win.
“You can’t replace a Patrice Bergeron or a David Krejci…you just can’t. But we do it together,” said Coyle. “Every guy pitched in, and I thought it was a really solid effort all-around. My game doesn’t change all that much and I just try to play the best I can no matter who I’m playing with and just try to take advantage of the good opportunities.
“There were a lot of guys that had monster games tonight. And it’s not just scoring or making big plays. It’s buying time so that a D-man can break a puck out, it’s blocking shots or getting that puck out when we’ve been out there for a while. The guys knew the task at hand, and followed through and went out and did it.”
With David Krejci a “50/50” proposition to play Game 4 on Sunday afternoon and Patrice Bergeron not making the trip to Florida for either of these road games, it will be up to Coyle to be a “monster”, “beast” or “animal” in that game as well for a Boston Bruins team build to withstand the injuries, adversity and challenges that come with making a two-month odyssey toward winning a Stanley Cup.