Gourde finally arrives in the spotlight for Bolts

by Gary Shelton on December 6, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

Vasilevski leads the league with 18 wins./CARMEN MANDATO

Vasilevskiy leads the league with 18 wins./CARMEN MANDATO

Wednesday, 2 a.m.

He is a man of many colors, most of them on his jerseys. He has been on so many teams in so many cities and so many leagues.

And now, Yanni Gourde has been in the spotlight.

Gourde, the 25-year-old forward of the Tampa Bay Lightning, scored two quick goals in the second period Tuesday night in the Bolts' 6-2 win over the New York Islanders. Tampa Bay had taken a 2-0 lead, but New York came back to tie.

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Victor Hedman moves the puck for Bolts./STEVEN MUNCIE

Victor Hedman moves the puck for Bolts./STEVEN MUNCIE

Gourde's goals, however, re-established a 4-2 lead, and the Bolts never looked back.

Gourde has played for Victoriaville Tigres of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, with the Worcester Sharks of the AHL, with the San Francisco Bulls and Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL before returning to the AHL. However, Gourde seems to have found a home with the Lightning. He has eight goals on the season. He's scored four times against the Islanders.

On the power play, I saw the puck was going to the net, so I took a couple of strides there,” Gourde said. “It hit the backboard and it came back on my stick. And the second goal, I was trying to get good body position at the center of the net and we missed a very good chance. Obviously, you want to be around the net.”

Gourde has enjoyed playing against the Islanders.

I guess I’d love to see them again,” Gourde said. “I’m not expecting to score every game against them, but for some reason it works every couple of games against them so I’ll take that.

Also scoring for Tampa Bay were Brayden Point (34 seconds into the game), Andrej Sustr, Vlad Namestnikov and Chris Kunitz.

“We’re more comfortable when we play the right way,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “We played that way in the first, played that way probably six minutes left in the second and played a pretty steady third. When you’re not playing the right way it can be troublesome.”

 Cooper expected the Islanders to come back hard in the second period.

That was all we talked about between periods, that this was going to happen, so just push back. We took our foot off the gas a little bit, we were just fortunate to get out of that.”

Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy won his NHL-leading 18th game of the season.

We did a good job of putting the brakes on from having a bad 11-12 minutes in the second,” said Chris Kunitz. “We had a really good first. We took our foot off the gas, but they’re a good team. They’re going to capitalize on chances, and that’s exactly what they did. We had a better start this time than we did last time in the building.”

The Lightning's depth was an asset, said forward Ryan Callahan.

You have to have depth,” Callahan said. “To have success in this league you have to have scoring throughout the lineup, that’s just how it is. Teams defend so well now, especially against your top guys. Some nightx they aren’t going to put the puck in the net and other guys have to show up and do it.”

  Tampa Bay continues its four-game home stand on Thursday when its hosts the Colorado Avalanche at Amalie Arena. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. 

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