No sleep needed: Bournival sparks Lightning
Michael Bournival didn't sleep much Wednesday night.
The wing didn't have much of a chance. Bournival, 24, who played for AHL Syracuse Wednesday, found out he was getting called up by the Lightning post-game. He got up at 5 a.m., scrambled to get a morning flight to Tampa, arriving at 2:30 p.m.
"It was a long day," Bournival said.
Make that a long week. Bournival, despite playing in his fifth pro game in seven nights, delivered a spark in the Lightning's 5-2 come-from-behind victory, including scoring the tying goal. It makes for one heck of a comeback story. This was Bournival's first NHL goal since February 2015, having dealt with concussion issues the past year in a half while with Montreal. The Lightning signed him over the summer.
"I think when you have a chance to be in the NHL, I think there's nothing that's going to stop you to bring energy," Bournival said. It's a great feeling to be back in this league."
Bournival was part of an unlikely fourth line, teaming with J.T. Brown and defenseman Nikita Nesterov, who played forward for the first time in the NHL. The trio was key cogs in stopping the Blues' line with Vladimir Tarasenko, matching up with them with three minutes left and protecting a two-goal lead.
"They did outstanding," coach Jon Cooper said. "They skated, competed, worked hard and played a 200 foot game."
That's Bournival's style. And his goal came fittingly on a deflection in front of the net.
Bournival smiled. It had been a while.
Said Cooper: "We saw the relief on his face."
More from tonight: Though the Lightning had just 11 healthy forwards, Cooper said he wasn't "vibing" a lineup with seven defenseman. So Cooper told Nesterov before the game there was a potential he'd play forward, if Cedric Paquette (lower body) didn't play. And Nesterov didn't disappoint, with three shots on goal and two hits in 13:14. "He can skate, he was physical and in on the forecheck," Cooper said. Said Boyle: "He was phenomenal."