Wednesday Night Hockey: Coyle looking to find offensive touch with Bruins

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Joey Alfieri
Coverage of Rangers-Bruins begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app.
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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with the Wednesday Night Hockey matchup between the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

Going home isn’t always easy.

Charlie Coyle has found that out over the last few weeks. The East Weymouth, Massachusetts native was acquired by the Boston Bruins from the Minnesota Wild last month, and even though being closer to family is nice, it hasn’t translated into a higher rate of production for the forward.

“It’s just as simple as being close to my family,” Coyle told NHL.com. “I can go home on off days and have a home-cooked meal with my mom and dad, two sisters. I’ve got an 80-year-old grandmother, a 90-year-old grandmother I don’t see very often. So just to see them — I think that’s what counts.

“[With Minnesota], I came home for Christmas, Thanksgiving, just those holidays. You don’t feel as [much a] part of the family. That’s better than nothing. But you can’t beat this.”

Unfortunately for Coyle, his offensive numbers are down since he came over to Boston. In 15 games with the Bruins, the 27-year-old has just two goals and two assists. But his latest goal came in Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Heading into that game, he had just one goal in his previous 19 contests.

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Coyle has bounced around between center and right wing for the Bruins. He’s spent most of his time on a line with David Krejci (the two have played 75 minutes together), but the chemistry with all his teammates is still a work in progress.

“If you present yourself, it’s usually going to be on your stick,” Coyle said of playing with Krejci, per the Boston Globe. “I just tried to find those open spots, open areas, and tried to release it as soon as I could. He and Jake [DeBrusk] found me numerous times and those opportunities are good. As long as you get those opportunities, it’s going to drop for you.”

The Bruins have been one of the best teams in the NHL in the second half of the season and they’ve been able to do that because they’ve received contributions from more than just their top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. If they could add Coyle to the list of contributors, that would make them that much more dangerous heading into the playoffs.

Although the Bruins don’t really have anything to play for over the last few games of the season, a player like Coyle could use these remaining games to get himself on track offensively before the postseason. Even though he failed to produce a point in five playoff games with Minnesota last year, he’s shown that he’s capable of chipping in at the most critical time of the year.

Back in 2013-14, he picked up three goals and seven points in 13 playoff games. Can he get back to that level for his hometown team this spring?

Six-time Emmy Award-winner Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick (play-by-play), Mike Milbury (analyst), and Brian Boucher (‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst) will have the call from TD Garden in Boston, Mass. Pre-game coverage starts at 6:30 p.m. ET with NHL Live, hosted by Liam McHugh alongside U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member Eddie Olczyk (analyst), Keith Jones and Bob McKenzie.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.