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Lightning's Boyle a new father, expected in for Game 3

by Corey Long

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brian Boyle has been somewhat of a mysterious figure through the first two games of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers.

Boyle missed Game 1 with an undisclosed injury and played 10:57 over 14 shifts in Game 2, a couple minutes below his average in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He participated in the Lightning's optional morning skate Wednesday for the first time as a new father. Boyle's wife, Lauren, gave birth to Declan Gabriel Boyle on Tuesday.

"It was an interesting day," Boyle said. "The team was awesome getting me back so I could get to the hospital early [Tuesday] morning. Everything is good and it's a great blessing."

Declan Boyle weighed in at nine pounds and five ounces. Boyle said that mother and son are doing well.

"She's a trooper," Boyle said of his wife. "She handled planning our wedding during the playoffs last year and handled the third trimester and having a baby this year. She's a real special person. I'm really lucky."

Boyle flew back to Tampa immediately after Game 2 and has spent much of the past 24 hours enjoying all the things that come with parenthood.

"When I first heard him it was really emotional, when I first saw him I was petrified I guess," Boyle said. "But after that it was just joy. Holding him, being around him. When he sneezed it was like the cutest thing I've ever seen."

As for the business of hockey, Boyle said he is feeling better and should be good to play in Game 3 at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"I tried to go in Game 1 and if I could have played I would have played, obviously I wanted to play," Boyle said. "It was really frustrating not to be out there."

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said he was happy to have Boyle back and close to full health. He said it's important for the Lightning to maintain continuity at this level and having the leadership that a veteran like Boyle provides is crucial.

"We try not to get too down or too high after each game and the leadership core here really makes everyone's job easier," Stamkos said. "For me personally going through the first run [in 2011], I never knew what to expect and I was a little nervous realizing how close I was. Now the mentality isn't how close you are but how much work is left to be done and that makes it a little easier to focus on the next game."

Here are the projected lineups:


Rick Nash - Derick Brassard - Kevin Hayes

Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Jesper Fast

Carl Hagelin - Dominic Moore -- Martin St. Louis

Tanner Glass - James Sheppard - J.T. Miller

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Dan Boyle

Keith Yandle - Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Cam Talbot

Scratched: Ryan Bourque, Matt Hunwick, Chris Summers

Injured: Mats Zuccarello (upper body)


Alex Killorn - Valtteri Filppula - Steven Stamkos

Nikita Kucherov - Tyler Johnson - Ondrej Palat

Brian Boyle - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

J.T. Brown - Brenden Morrow

Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman

Braydon Coburn - Jason Garrison

Matthew Carle - Andrej Sustr

Nikita Nesterov

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Scratched: Mark Barberio, Jonathan Drouin, Jonathan Marchessault, Vladislav Namestnikov

Injured: None

Status report: The Lightning had full participation for the optional morning skate. ... Coach Jon Cooper would not confirm if he was going with 11 forwards and seven defensemen. The Lightning have won five of six games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with that alignment. ... Cooper said moving Stamkos to the wing helps keep him from spending too much time in the defensive zone.

Who's hot: Johnson had a hat trick in Game 2, the first in Lightning playoff history. ...Kucherov had three assists in Game 2. ...Stamkos has a point in six of his past seven games.

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