Charlie Coyle pronounced all of his R's when he held his postgame press conference Thursday night at the Garden and maybe that's a product of playing his first six years in Minnesota. Perhaps.
But if you catch the Bruins center off guard, his Boston accent will return, as thick and sweet as molasses -- at least to a true Bostonian's ear.
Coyle began living his dream when he pulled on the Bruins sweater for the first time back in February, but the night he had Thursday at the Garden took him all the way back to the East Weymouth street where he grew up.
After watching his third-period turnover turn into the Columbus Blue Jackets' tying goal -- they would get the go-ahead just 13 seconds later -- it appeared as if Coyle would be wearing the goat horns in this Game 1 of the second round. But Coyle shed those appendages in a huge way.
With 4:35 left in the third period and the Bruins down 2-1, Coyle pounded a beautiful backhand pass from linemate Marcus Johansson -- himself a deadline acquisition -- past a very good Sergei Bobrovsky to send the game into overtime.
And then at 5:15 of OT, the Johansson-Coyle connection worked again. Danton Heinen made a terrific play to get the puck into the offensive zone and stay onside, then dished it over to Johansson on the left side. The crafty Swede spotted Coyle at the back door, zipped a perfect pass and Coyle tapped it home.
Game over. Hometown hero christened.
Coyle, sitting at the podium with goalie Tuukka Rask, imagined this moment more than once as a kid.
"I think we all did that. I used to play street hockey outside of my house. We had a little cul de sac, so I was with my friends or with myself," said Coyle of imagining this moment as a kid. "You always think about that stuff, play scenarios in your head, what it would be like when you're older. I think most times you envision yourself in the future. I think Tuuks can say the same thing. We've all done that. So, yeah, pretty cool to be living it."
Coyle's ecstasy was tempered with a healthy dose of relief. He was not happy with the turnover that led to Brandon Dubinsky's tying goal at 7:39 of the third. He tried to play the puck back to Charlie McAvoy from his blue line, but the pass was knocked off course and eventually went back to Seth Jones at the right point. Jones' shot was deflected first by Riley Nash and then by Dubinsky past Rask.
It only got worse when Artemi Panarin's shot went off Pierre-Luc Dubois' backside and past Rask a blink and a half later.
"You can't have that in the game," Coyle said. "I owed it to my teammates and I owed Tuuks a lot more. I'm just glad we kept playing and we got to go out there and redeem ourselves. Just happy to get the win after that, to be honest."
You could almost feel Coyle's breath again when he blasted the puck past Bobrovsky for the first one. The puck came out so quickly after thumping the lower back of the net, it wasn't immediately clear to everyone in the crowd that was in. It was clear to Coyle, though.
Then he put the finishing touches on it in OT.
"His buddies will expect him to get a hat trick the next time, that's the problem," coach Bruce Cassidy said with a grin. "Listen. He's got to be excited. I think in Minnesota, they didn't have much luck in terms of getting to the second round. So I know he's excited. You're at home, you're advancing. And you're the hero. I think that's awesome. Great story. Hopefully (Walpole, Mass., native Chris) Wagner is next."