TORONTO There was no mistaking who scored the goal after watching the familiar celebration.
Bruins left wing Chris Bourque scored his first goal as a member of the Black and Gold in memorable fashion as he was the only lamp-lighter in a 1-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre before a national Hockey Night in Canada audience in the Great White North.
The goal came after Bourque was a healthy scratch on Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres after hed gone scoreless in his first six games of the year, and admitted that things were going a million miles a minute for him out on the ice. It was also only the second NHL goal of Bourques career with the last one coming all the way back on December 30, 2008 for the Washington Capitals.
The goal was certainly more beauty than greasy as Chris Kelly picked up a chip into the offensive zone from Rich Peverley, and zinged a backhanded pass to Bourque waiting to slam home the one-timer at the left post. For the first time in a Bs sweater, there was zero hesitation in the youngsters game.
So to celebrate Bourque pulled out an impromptu tribute to his old man, No. 77. Once he had slammed home the one-timer he dropped to one knee and slid across the goal crease while pumping his first just like Ray did hundreds of times during a Hall of Fame career for the Bruins.
There might have been a couple fist pumps. It might have been over-excessive, but I think I just blacked out when it happened. I was excited, said Bourque. I dont know if it was getting the pressure off myself or feeling like I contributed to the team, but thats all I wanted to do hereto help the team win. That goal ended up making the difference.
I always knew I had the capability of doing it. Its just a matter of going out there and proving it. I had a couple of chances here and there over the first six games, but tonight I wanted to really bare down and it ended up in the back of the net.
Bourque had previously said that hell always work his balls off on every shift he plays, and thats part of the reason Claude Julien has continued to stick with the 26-year-old has tried to bridge that gap between AHL player and established NHL veteran. In part it was because of the work he was putting in every shift, the diligent back-checks even if things werent dropping offensively and the flashes of offensive finish that the Bruins are hoping to continue seeing more of.
The Bs coach also said he had a conversation with Bourque on Saturday morning, and thinks his motivational tactic might have worked.
Im really happy for him. I joked around with him before the game and told him Id bag skate him on Sunday if he didnt score, said a smiling Julien. He obviously doesnt like those kinds of skates, so he didnt waste any time.
Bourque didnt score that first goal at home in the TD Garden where he grew up as a hockey player, and he wasnt sure if his father saw it live as hes in Florida on a golf getaway. But the son said that the wise father and the loyal younger brother, Ryan, gave him all the positive support he needed on a daily basis. When some got impatient to see production out of Bourque in his big chance with the Black and Gold, his Hall of Fame dad preached patience and relaxation.
All throughout the day I felt pretty comfortable and confident. Sometimes sitting out change your mindset a little bit, said Bourque, who finished with the one shot and a plus-1 in 13:05 of ice time. These are the best players in the world and it takes you a little while to slow things down and adjust to the speed. Then you start making your plays.
I talk to Ray every day. Were really close. He and my brother are the two guys I talk to about certain things and bounce things off them. They are two really good people to talk to. He just told me to play my game. Sometimes I go out of my comfort level and play a million miles an hour. Sometimes you try too hard if that makes sense. I just need to slow it down and play my game. Thats been good things happen.
The first good thing happened in game-winning fashion on a big stage Saturday night, and both Bourque and the Bruins hope that the best is yet to come.