TAMPA — While sticks and bodies swirled around him Thursday night, Dan Boyle was still.
The Lightning defenseman was kneeling on the ice, blood oozing from a cut near his throat caused by the skate blade of Capitals defenseman Mike Green.
That Tomas Fleischmann scored on the play to give Washington a 4-3 overtime victory at the St. Pete Times Forum was, at the moment, of little consequence to Boyle.
"It scared the (expletive) out of me," he said in the locker room, the bright red from the dried blood outlining a 4- to 5-inch cut drawing one's eye like a flare. "All I knew is at that moment I was sliced open."
"I had no idea," Green said. "I hope he's all right."
Boyle escaped relatively unscathed. He needed no stitches, but his voice was gravely, he said, because of a bruise in his throat. Team spokesman Bill Wickett said the skate grazing the top of Boyle's sternum (a bone instead of unsupported flesh) helped prevent serious damage.
Still, given the recent horrific scene of Richard Zednik's neck being punctured by the skate of a tumbling Panthers teammate, considering what could have happened was unnerving.
"It's scary," center Vinny Lecavalier said. "Just talking about it, you have to knock on wood."
"Just a miserable year," Boyle said.
"What else can happen?"
Boyle missed 45 games because of two surgeries after a skate fell from his locker and sliced three tendons in his left wrist after a Sept. 22 preseason game with the Capitals.
Boyle had to leave Wednesday's practice after he was kicked in the right side of his helmeted head by the skate of teammate Andreas Karlsson.
Thursday's incident happened at the end of Green's rink-long rush.
Green sprawled forward when pushed by Tampa Bay's Shane O'Brien.
Boyle, knocked over by Washington's Brooks Laich, slid into Green just as Green's left leg elbowed up and exposed his skate blade.
"I was pretty scared for my life, really," Boyle said.
Tampa Bay, which got goals from Jeff Halpern, Alex Picard and Michel Ouellet, lost a 3-2 lead with 4:48 left in the third period on Alexander Semin's goal.
The Lightning believed Green, on the icing call that caused the faceoff in the Tampa Bay zone that preceded the goal, did not give enough effort to touch the puck before it crossed Washington's goal line.
For Boyle, though, the game came down to one play.
"I'm thankful it wasn't worse," he said. "That's the second day in a row I got a (skate) somewhere in the face. I don't know, man, it's pretty tough."
First Period—1, Washington, Laich 20 (Fedorov), 17:58 (sh). 2, Tampa Bay, Halpern 18 (Ouellet, O'Brien), 18:40 (pp). Penalties—Smaby, TB (holding), 3:36; Backstrom, Was (hooking), 3:41; Halpern, TB (interference), 14:03; Erskine, Was (hooking), 16:46.
Second Period—3, Washington, Bradley 7 (Poti, Schultz), 3:11. 4, Tampa Bay, Picard 3 (Lecavalier), 6:00. Penalty—Kuba, TB (delay of game), 19:25.
Third Period—5, Tampa Bay, Ouellet 17 (Darche, Boyle), 6:51. 6, Washington, Semin 24 (Fedorov), 15:12. Penalties—None.
Overtime—7, Washington, Fleischmann 9 (Laich, Green), 2:27. Penalties—None. Shots on Goal—Washington 10-8-12-2—32. Tampa Bay 6-9-8-3—26. Power-play opportunities—Washington 0 of 3; Tampa Bay 1 of 2. Goalies—Washington, Huet 28-14-6 (26 shots-23 saves). Tampa Bay, Ramo 6-10-3 (32-28). A—17,777 (19,758).