DETROIT, MI - APRIL 17: Gabriel Bourque #57 of the Nashville Predators reacts after scoring a third period goal while playing the Detroit Red Wings during Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Joe Louis Arena on April 17, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. Nashville won the game 3-1 and lead the series 3-1.(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Gabriel Bourque developing reputation as a big game hero


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 been awesome for us,” teammate David Legwand said. “He plays the game the right way, hard and straightforward. That’s what you need in the playoffs.”

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.

Goalie nods: Greiss gets start over injured Halak

Thomas Greiss
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Thomas Greiss will be between the pipes for the New York Islanders when they host the Blackhawks tonight in Brooklyn.

Greiss was signed this offseason to back up Jaroslav Halak, who skated this morning but remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

“Jaro’s not 100 percent right now, so it was an easy decision,” coach Jack Capuano told Newsday. “Jaro’s progressing well and we’ll see how he is moving forward.”

Greiss will be backed up by J-F Berube, who was claimed off waivers from Los Angeles earlier in the week.

Corey Crawford will be in goal for Chicago.

These two teams meet again tomorrow at United Center.


Michael Hutchinson goes for the Jets in New Jersey after Ondrej Pavelec got the win last night in Boston. Cory Schneider for the Devils.

Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers. Sergei Bobrovsky for the Blue Jackets in their opener.

Jonathan Bernier for the Leafs. Jimmy Howard for the Red Wings in their opener.

Mike Smith for the Coyotes. Jonathan Quick likely for the Kings, who will need a better effort than the one they had Wednesday against San Jose.

Related: Mike Smith seeing benefit from sports psychologist

No hearing scheduled for Burmistrov after Bergeron headshot

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Winnipeg forward Alex Burmistrov isn’t in line for a disciplinary hearing for his elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron on Thursday night, an NHL spokesman confirmed to PHT.

Burmistrov was tagged with an illegal check to the head minor late in the first period. Bergeron received a minor roughing penalty for retaliating on the Russian forward, but was able to finish the contest.

Afterward, B’s head coach Claude Julien expressed frustration with the hit.

“It will be interesting how that is being reviewed, and especially to an elite player in the league who’€™s had some [concussion] issues in the past,” Julien said, per WEEI. “I hope they look at it seriously. In my mind, I don’€™t see why there wouldn’t be further consequences [for] that.”

Bergeron said that, while it was “definitely a hit to the head,” Burmistrov did come up to him afterward and apologized.

According to sources of CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty, Burmistrov received a warning from the Department of Player Safety.