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Rangers defenseman Boyle OK after hit in Game 1

by Dan Rosen /

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Rangers defenseman Dan Boyle practiced Friday after leaving the ice following Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Washington Capitals on Thursday with what appeared to be an injury.

Boyle said he was "dazed and confused" after Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom hit him in the corner to start the sequence that led to forward Joel Ward's game-winning goal with 1.3 seconds remaining in the third period of Washington's 2-1 victory.

"It could be a lot worse," Boyle said. "I've been a lot worse. A couple years ago I was in a much worse situation. I definitely wanted to go out there today and see how it felt. I did OK."

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said he expects Boyle to be ready to go for Game 2 on Saturday at Madison Square Garden (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports).

"As far as I know I expect him to be ready," Vigneault said. "I didn't hear anything different."

Boyle said he was trying to freeze the puck in the corner long enough to hear the buzzer signifying the end of the third period. The puck was jarred loose from him when Backstrom hit him hard on an aggressive forecheck. Forward Alex Ovechkin set up Ward for the winner in the slot two seconds later.

Boyle said he knew the Rangers were in a precarious position once the puck was jarred loose, but he couldn't get back to the front of the net.

"There was just a few seconds left and that's it, what's what you try to do," Boyle said of freezing the puck. "Once he hit my head there's not much else I can do."

Boyle declined to offer an opinion of Backstrom's hit.

"I don't know if it matters what I think," he said. "I'm sure a lawyer can make a case for it to go either way. [Backstrom] doesn't have a history of too much of that stuff. Either way, I don't know, that's up for everyone else to decide."

Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh did not practice Friday. Vigneault said McDonagh had a maintenance day.


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