Predators forward Gabriel Bourque isn’t used to playing on the man advantage, but he made his 27 seconds of power play time count on Thursday night. The 22-year old scored Nashville’s first goal in regulation since the opening frame against Minnesota on February 9th.
Scored at 2:40 into the third period, Bourque’s goal stood as the game-winning tally, his second game-winning goal of the season. The Rimouski, Quebec native also scored the first goal of the game in Nashville’s 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings on February 7th.
“[Trotz] told me to just go in front of the net. I stayed there. Marty [Erat] tried to pass to me and the puck hit my skate and it went in, so I’ll take it,” Bourque said.
“I think I played my best game in the last three games. I just came out tonight and tried my best. Last time against Phoenix, we lost 3-0 so everyone had to show up tonight.”
Mikkel Boedker was in the penalty box for hooking, a penalty that Bourque drew. The power play goal was Nashville’s 7th goal on the man advantage this season, and Bourque’s third tally of the campaign.
Predators forward Colin Wilson believes one of Bourque’s assets is that he can play on any line.
“He’s very versatile – forechecking, working hard and at the same time he can score, so it’s great to have him,” Wilson said. “He can move all over the roster because of the way he plays.”
Last season, Bourque played 43 games for Nashville and averaged 12:47 per game. Average ice time has increased this season for the left-wing by just over 2 minutes, playing an average of 14:59.
Despite the increase in ice time and responsibility, Bourque doesn’t see any added expectations from last season.
“It’s the same thing. I just bring energy and that sort of stuff. I play more in the defensive zone. It’s pretty good. It gives me confidence, and I like it,” he said.
Bourque almost scored in the last minute of the second period. He brought that momentum into the third period.
“I wish it would‘ve gone in,” he said. “That would have been a nice one-goal lead. But it didn’t go in. It was a nice pass by Sergei [Kostitsyn]. I’m sorry I missed that goal, but we stepped up in the third. When you have scoring chances, you just have to keep a smile on your face and go work and have fun out there. That’s what we did in the third.”