Apr 19, 2012, 8:06 AM EDT
If there has been a single surprise player from the Detroit Red Wings-Nashville Predators series, it’s Gabriel Bourque. The 21-year-old had a solid rookie campaign with seven goals and 19 points in 43 regular season games, but he’s really stepped up in the playoffs with three goals for Nashville in four games.
He’s certainly been the X-factor for the Predators the first round, providing the game-winning goal in the series opener as well as the opening goal for the Predators in Game 4 on Tuesday. That’s not bad coming from a guy who only made his NHL debut in late December.
Although, as young as Bourque is, he’s already built a reputation for being able to step up when he’s needed the most. He’s a former winner of the Guy Lafleur Trophy, which is given to the QMJHL’s most valuable player in the playoffs. He also got seven points in a single World Junior Championship game in 2010 to tie a Canadian record.
“When you’re looking at lineups, sometimes you’re looking for catalysts,” assistant GM Paul Fenton said. “He seems to be one of the catalysts that each night, each shift, he tries to make a difference no matter how much he’s playing — if it’s the fourth, fifth, sixth or eighth shift he’s out there for.”
He might be the difference again when the Predators attempt to seal their series in Game 5 on Friday.
- Avs and O’Reilly agree on two-year deal, but questions remain 23
- Rangers and Kreider avoid arbitration, agree on two-year deal 21
- Zuccarello takes Rangers’ one year, $3.5M deal 39
- Advancement? Leafs sign Booth for one year, $1.1M 23
- Leafs hire 28-year-old stats advocate as assistant GM 30
- NBC Sports to air over 100 NHL regular-season games in 2014-15 68
- Stars, Roussel agree on four-year, $8 million deal 3
- Vanek connected to federal gambling investigation 61
- Return that toaster: Ovechkin-Kirilenko engagement broken off 53
- Report: Leafs sign Franson to one year, $3.3 million deal 8
- Kane, Toews could’ve commanded $13.8M cap hits, says agent (83)
- Babcock fires back over allegations that free agents avoid him (77)
- Babcock: Cleary a ‘calculated risk’ after playing last year ‘on one leg’ (70)
- NBC Sports to air over 100 NHL regular-season games in 2014-15 (68)
- Vanek connected to federal gambling investigation (61)