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.
- Here’s who’s left after Day 1 of free agency 2
- PHT’s 2015 free agent frenzy tracker 38
- Getting clutch? Capitals sign Justin Williams for two years, $6.5M 11
- Coyotes bring back Vermette with two-year deal 29
- Bruins sign Beleskey for five years, despite some warning signs 40
- Kessel trade shows Leafs are trying to ‘build this thing the right way’ 26
- Green signs with Red Wings — 3 years, $18 million 24
- ‘It’s hard to find players like Phil Kessel’ 39
- Kassian traded to Habs for Prust; Hodgson signs with Preds 17
- Blockbuster: Kessel traded to the Penguins 131
- Blockbuster: Kessel traded to the Penguins (131)
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (105)
- Trade: Jackets land Saad, Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago (93)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (90)
- Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks (75)