Brian Boyle Scored A Huge Goal And Nico Hischier Actively Passed One Up In The Devils' OT Loss To The Oilers
Honestly, it was about damn time, and I hardly mean that as an indictment of the amount of games it took Brian Boyle to net his first goal as a New Jersey Devil. Instead, of course, I mean it as nod to how unbelievably long it took him to publicly lend credence to the emotional toll that his cancer diagnosis clearly took on him, his family, and his friends. With the uncanny resilience and toughness he's shown in overcoming what couldn't have been a worse and potentially tragic situation, it's been a long time coming that he let his guard down and shed a celebratory tear.
That goal was the result of a hell of a lot of perseverance, and that's not even including the work that he apparently put into knocking a majority of the rust off during his first road trip of the season. Brian Boyle has been playing some pretty damn good hockey the last two games, but - more importantly - he's doing so as a happy and healthy human being that serves as a source of endless inspiration to those around him. I'm obviously glad he was able to contribute from a productivity standpoint, but I think I speak for everyone who witnessed that puck crossed that line in saying that I'm ecstatic over what it represents. Don't let the waterworks fool you, Brian Boyle is stronger than all the collective hashtags used to support his fight.
On a severely less sentimental note, Nico Hischier managed to elicit tears of a much more depressing variety by trying to be cuter than his adorable little hair flip by returning a feed to Taylor Hall when - in fact - it was the gaping mouth of the opponent's net that was desperately calling for the puck. I don't want to say the 18 year old rookie is snakebitten or that he's gripping his stick too tightly because he's creating chances and producing points at an alarming rate...
Unfortunately, when it comes to he - himself - finishing those chances and being more directly responsible for setting off that red light it appears as though he's got a goddamn boa constricting his knuckles. I counted three, but it was for sure two, instances in which he wouldn't have had to dig too deep to bury the puck on his stick, and none of them ended up in the back of the net.
Granted, when I was his age I was drinking daily to the point of blackout under the mild pressure of my peers so - in an extremely inebriated way - I understand his insistence on being unselfish. Still, sometimes you just have to take the bull by the testicles like Taylor Hall did in creating the unfinished opportunity in the first place. I have no qualms with how he played last night (or overall throughout the season, really) after the short benching he earned himself with a self-proclaimed "stupid" penalty and I know the goal scoring will come sooner rather than later. But, make no mistake, last night a freshman mistake cost the Devils a much needed win against hockey's scariest junior.