BOSTON — The last time Charlie Coyle scored a winning overtime playoff goal for the Boston Bruins, the game was imaginary and he was a kid playing in sneakers in front of his house on a cul de sac in East Weymouth, Massachusetts.

But on Thursday in Game 1 of the Bruins’ second-round Stanley Cup playoff series with the Columbus Blue Jackets, he not only scored the winner in the 3-2 overtime victory, but also the tying goal in the third period.

“You always think about that stuff, play out scenarios in your head and what it would be like when you’re older,” Coyle said. “It was pretty cool to do it.”

Coyle’s daydream was real. A kid whose first pair of skates hangs on a wall less than 20 miles away sent the fans at TD Garden into a celebration when he redirected Marcus Johansson’s pass into the net 5:15 into overtime.

If Coyle hadn’t scored the third-period goal, Thursday night would have been memorable for a much different reason. The former Boston University star had a costly turnover in the third period that turned into a Blue Jackets goal.

“I’m glad our line kept playing and kept going out there to redeem ourselves, just happy to get the win after that, to be honest,” he said. “I didn’t care who scored it. It’s special personally, but it’s all about the team here.”

The Bruins, who dug themselves out of holes in the first round, have wrapped their arms around resiliency as a theme so far in this postseason. Coyle was the skating embodiment of the concept Thursday.

“All year, we’re a resilient group. We talk about focusing on the next shift, or if it’s a bad game, the next game. The guys have been very good at that,” Bruins Coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Trying to stay in the moment and move on. Clearly, he wanted to atone, and he did.”

When the Bruins acquired Coyle and Marcus Johansson before the trade deadline, the popular assessment was that Boston had acquired good pieces but not game-changers, as bigger names went elsewhere. But Johansson set up both of Coyle’s goals, and both men have been good in the postseason. Their fast chemistry was obvious on the winning goal.

“Before I got the puck, I already saw Charlie going back door, so it was just kind of a quick play,” said Johansson. “One of those you don’t really think, you just do it, and that was fun to see it go in.”

After notching 12 goals in 81 games in the regular season, Coyle has five in eight postseason games. He didn’t want to make too much of it.

“You can be happy and celebrate for the night, but it’s back to business tomorrow, and it’s only one game,” he said. “We need four of them right now.”

Cassidy enjoyed watching the local-boy-makes-good story unfold in real time, but he knows what the friends of Charlie Coyle will want next.

“Well, his buddies probably expect him to get a hat trick next game, that’s the problem. 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 he’s probably excited he’s advancing,” Cassidy said. “Now you’re at home. Now you’re the hero of the game, so I think it’s awesome. Good for him. Great story.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.