New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle used to be loved in Tampa Bay. But he probably isn’t now after he appeared to make threatening comments toward Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev in the closing moments of their playoff game.
Video of the end of the game seems to show Boyle mouthing the words, “I’m going to kill you," as an official was leading him off the ice.
Sergachev pushed Boyle to the ice and might have punched him during a scrum near the end of the game.
The incident came at the end of the Devils’ 5-2 win that cut the Lightning’s lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal.
Boyle, who used to be a popular player in Tampa during his two-plus seasons, tripped Sergachev with 30 seconds left in regulation. A melee ensued with 23 seconds left, and Sergachev and Boyle had a grip on each other.
Boyle seemed to even be smiling before he went down. Ten players received misconduct penalties, including Sergachev and Boyle, who played 5:48 and had 12 penalty minutes.
Sergachev seemed to be trash-talking back at Boyle as he was escorted off the ice.
Boyle didn't address what he had said after the game, but he discussed how things got heated.
"It is what it is," he told reporters. "I'm sure it looks entertaining, but don't make too much of it. It's competition. But there's a line that you don't necessarily go across with your team down."
It’s fair to say that the teams are starting to dislike each other as they prepare for Game 4 in Newark.