UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Defenseman Bruno Gervais admitted it was a bit of a tease to his new fans that he racked up two points in his Lightning debut Monday.
After all, when Gervais' bad-angled shot bounced in off Washington goalie Tomas Vokoun's pad, it was his first goal in 57 games dating to March 2010. Considering Gervais has just 10 career goals, two points equates to an offensive outburst.
"That'd be a good average," Gervais said, smiling. "Guys are (teasing) me back home, 'Oh, man, I should have drafted you in my pool. That's 160 points!' But I got lucky that day."
Gervais, 27, is more of a steady and smart defenseman than a scorer. And nobody knows that better than the Islanders, the team that drafted him and was home for the first six seasons of his career. That makes potentially getting the chance to play against New York tonight as a visitor a unique situation.
"I've already talked to a few of the guys. It's going to be a little weird," Gervais said. "But … when the puck drops, no matter what, you don't have any friends on the ice. But it'll be a little bit something special dressing up in the visiting locker room."
Gervais, acquired in June for future considerations then signed to a one-year, two-way contract, sat out the first two games as a healthy scratch with Matt Gilroy getting a shot as the sixth defenseman.
Gervais performed well Monday in his opportunity against the Capitals.
And although coach Guy Boucher would not commit to who was playing tonight, he acknowledged, "Obviously, it's going to be hard (for Gervais) to be taken out."
"He had some poise," Boucher said.
"And he kept it real simple. It sounds like not much, but for defense, it's 95 percent of what he needs to do. He did well."
Gervais, 6 feet 1, 205 pounds, isn't going to physically dominate everyone. But Boucher says he's in the right position and makes good reads.
"On the breakouts and transitions, he chose option A right away quick," Boucher said. "I liked that a lot."
Gervais assisted on the Lightning's first goal Monday, when Teddy Purcell threw an odd-angled shot toward the front of the net and it bounced in off Capitals defenseman Mike Green. Then Gervais gave Tampa Bay the lead with a bank shot of his own off Vokoun.
"He had a weird stance against the post, and there was a big hole behind his knee," Gervais said. "I just saw it, and I might as well shoot there. It's not like I was trying to get it straight in. I wanted to throw it between the post and see what happens from there and got lucky and went in."
Gervais said every game he plays in the Lightning system he feels "more and more comfortable." And Boucher is getting used to what he can see from Gervais, comparing him to former Lightning defenseman Mike Lundin.
"He plays the game simple," Boucher said. "And if there's an opening, you'll never see him try to deke guys. He's going to see the hole and just charge through the hole and make those plays."
Joe Smith can be reached at email@example.com.