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Boyle to Make First Career NHL Start Tonight

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara /

Just days after making his NHL debut in Philadelphia, goaltender Kevin Boyle will make his first career NHL start tonight when the Ducks host the Vancouver Canucks at Honda Center. The 26-year-old netminder was recalled from the San Diego Gulls on Feb. 9 when John Gibson suffered an upper-body injury on Feb. 7 in Ottawa.

Boyle's NHL debut came in relief form last Saturday when he took over for Chad Johnson in the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Hailing from nearby Manalapan, New Jersey, Boyle had friends and family in attendance that day, and turned in an impressive 24-save performance.

"He's earned this," Executive Vice President/General Manager (and interim head coach) Bob Murray said to reporters today. "He's worked hard. Hockey goalie is the hardest position in sports."

Prior to his call-up, Boyle was having a sensational season with the Gulls, posting a 19-7-1 record with a 2.72 goals-against average and .909 save percentage in 30 games. An AHL All-Star this season, Boyle ranked second among AHL goaltenders in wins and won 14 of his last 17 starts (14-2-1, 2.30 GAA, .917 SV%) with the Gulls.

"He's done a great job," Murray said. "He saved the season a few years ago in San Diego. He's been [Gulls head coach] Dallas' [Eakins] go-to guy. He's always been a bit of a slow starter, even in school, but once he gets rolling, he's pretty calm in there. Good test for him tonight. It'll be emotional for him, for sure."

Ryan Miller, who hasn't played since Dec. 9 because of an MCL sprain, will serve as backup tonight.

More on Gibson, Johnson
Murray gave additional details to the injuries Gibson and Johnson are dealing with. Gibson is currently on Injured Reserve, while Johnson is going on IR later today.

"You saw the hit," Murray said to reporters, on the collision between Gibson and Jaycob Megna. "He got whacked a whole bunch of times on one play. He's just not right anywhere up there. He's a little better today. He's been in. He has a little bit of an appetite now."

After inspecting Johnson's mask after the Flyers game, Murray says he thinks Johnson might've taken a puck up high. To make matters worse, Johnson took another puck off the mask yesterday in practice. "He got a good one yesterday," Murray said. "Couldn't sleep. He had a headache."

Video: The Ducks discuss Boyle's first NHL start

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