GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- After being scratched the past three games, Brian Boyle will return to the lineup Thursday night against the Islanders at Madison Square Garden.
It's a relief for Boyle, who said last week that he found the benching "infuriating." The 28-year-old center said he's excited to be back and is anxious to prove he can still contribute to this team.
"I know I can play better and I'm going to," he said after the team's morning skate in Westchester.
Boyle, held to one point in nine games this season, said he needs to create more offense and be sharper on the penalty kill. His production has faltered in the first quarter of the season, he admitted, but his work ethic hasn't been lacking.
"I work as hard as I can," he said. "Jump has never been an issue."
Despite concerns about Boyle's penalty-killing performance and shot-blocking this season, coach John Tortorella has repeatedly expressed faith in the hulking forward. As recently as Wednesday, Tortorella called Boyle a "good player" who is still expected to play an important role with the team.
"It is nice to know that they think I can be an effective player," Boyle said. "If they don't, I'm going to prove them wrong."
While Boyle centered a third line with Taylor Pyatt and J.T. Miller during the morning skate, Chris Kreider skated as an extra defenseman. It appears Kreider will be the healthy scratch at forward vs. the Islanders.
Goaltender Martin Biron was first off the ice, a good indication that he will start against his former team on Thursday.