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Brian Boyle is happy to play the villain

Brian Boyle

OTTAWA, CANADA - APRIL 16: Brian Boyle #22 of the New York Rangers celebrates his third period goal against the Ottawa Senators in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scotiabank Place on April 16, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The Rangers defeated the Senators 1-0. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Brian Boyle isn’t exactly the most popular guy in Ottawa right now.

He got in some hits on Erik Karlsson in Game 1, which the Senators took offense to. Ottawa’s Matt Carkner attacked Boyle in Game 2, but Boyle was either unwilling or unprepared to fight, which resulted in Carkner getting ejected from that game and suspended for Monday’s contest.

Oh, and Boyle has scored in all three games of the first-round series between the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators, including the lone goal in the Rangers’ 1-0 victory Monday.

“A lot of us can start following his lead,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said. “That’s what he’s doing now, leading.”

He has certainly helped the Rangers in a lot of ways in this series, so it’s not too much of a surprise that the Senators fans booed him on Monday. It still apparently caught Boyle off guard, but he’s comfortable in his new role.

“Honestly, it was a surprise,” Boyle said. “But if I’m the villain to them, that’s good.”

He’ll get another chance to play the villain in Game 4 on Wednesday before the series returns to New York, where he’s likely to get a hero’s welcome.