Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Birthday boy Yanni Gourde excited to make Lightning debut

Yanni Gourde, right, in his NHL debut with the Lightning, chases a puck along with defenseman Frank Corrado — himself making his Maple Leafs debut after being claimed from the Canucks.

Getty Images

Yanni Gourde, right, in his NHL debut with the Lightning, chases a puck along with defenseman Frank Corrado — himself making his Maple Leafs debut after being claimed from the Canucks.

TORONTO — LW Yanni Gourde will have a hard time topping Tuesday's 24th birthday.

Gourde made his NHL debut for the Lightning against the Maple Leafs, capping a journey in which he played in the ECHL and AHL. The best part was that his wife, Marie, along with his mother and two brothers, were there to see it.

Gourde showed some nerves, taking an interference penalty in his first shift, logging 6:55 of ice time. But he also had his first NHL assist on Mike Blunden's third-period goal that tied it at 3.

"A big day for me," Gourde said. "It was awesome. I enjoyed every moment."

Gourde had to play, with Tampa Bay down to 11 healthy forwards, with LW Joel Vermin (hand) out indefinitely after getting hurt Monday night.

Tampa Bay made no additional callups Tuesday. RW Erik Condra (lower body) skated on his own for the second consecutive day, but his status for Friday's game in Washington is unknown.

On rise: Few Lightning players saw their stars rise more in the playoffs than LW Alex Killorn.

Killorn, 26, delivered a breakout performance, with nine goals and nine assists, and was a force playing alongside captain Steven Stamkos. Killorn even put himself on the radar for Canada's World Cup team, good timing considering he'll be a restricted free agent this summer.

But Killorn, with four goals in 31 games this season, insists he wants to be more productive. Yet he has come on strong recently and was one of the team's best forwards in the past couple of games. He racked up six shots Saturday against Washington, and set up the winning goal Monday with a slick pass to Brian Boyle on a shorthanded 2-on-1.

"Killer was outstanding," coach Jon Cooper said. "He was powerful at both ends of the rink, he really commanded the puck, he protected well, got everybody involved. If you're going to talk hockey gods, he earned that."

Killorn, at 6 feet 2, 198 pounds, is a rare power forward on the Lightning roster. While his pass to Boyle made the highlights, Killorn's hard work behind the play set up the rush. That's how he said he can make an impact.

"It's been tough for everyone scoring-wise and it just keeps mounting and mounting," he said. "Our team has kept it simple, and for myself I try to work hard and the harder you work, the more you're going to get rewarded."

Just business: F Jonathan Marchessault, a former Blue Jacket who played his first two NHL games with Columbus in 2012-13, said there were no added emotions in scoring a goal against them Monday night. "I played two games there, but except that, it was just business as usual," Marchessault said. He has three goals in 14 games since his callup, forcing his way onto the roster. "This is what I wanted to do," Marchessault said. "To have a few games in a row and be able to show off what I can do. I'm pretty happy overall how things have been going lately, hope it can go the same way."

In net: G Andrei Vasilevskiy started for Tampa Bay.

Contact Joe Smith at joesmith@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

Birthday boy Yanni Gourde excited to make Lightning debut 12/15/15 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 15, 2015 11:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Kids still playing for all the marbles — literally

    Human Interest

    In this world of pompous athletes, overbearing coaches, money-grubbing owners and a win-at-all-costs mindset, it's easy to become jaded.

    Eli Murphy, right, leans in to give Sierra Ricci the traditional king and queen kiss at the National Marbles Championship in Wildwood, N.J. Both of Allegheny County Pa., they won the girls and boys championship of the 94th annual National Marbles Tournament. [Associated Press]
  2. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  3. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  4. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary season

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    John Tortorella, in Tampa in 2014 for the 10-year Stanley Cup win party, will return next season for the team’s anniversary event.
  5. Rays designate catcher Derek Norris for assignment

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — C Derek Norris tied a career-high with three hits in Friday's 15-5 win against the Orioles then was designated for assignment after the game to make room on the 25-man roster for C Wilson Ramos.

    Derek Norris, right, celebrates with Logan Morrison as he scores in what could be his last game with the Rays.