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Lightning’s Yanni Gourde proved it again: He doesn’t back down from fights

The forward gave Tampa Bay a bit of a spark in its 2-1 loss Tuesday to Boston.
Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde (37) drops the gloves and fights with Boston Bruins center Joakim Nordstrom (20) Tuesday, March 3, 2020 in Tampa.
Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde (37) drops the gloves and fights with Boston Bruins center Joakim Nordstrom (20) Tuesday, March 3, 2020 in Tampa. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Mar. 4, 2020
Updated Mar. 4, 2020

TAMPA — Yanni Gourde was one of the most physical players on the ice Tuesday against Boston.

Gourde didn’t necessarily “win” his fight with Boston’s Joakim Nordstrom in the second period — although he did end up on top after Nordstrom lost his footing. But the 5-foot-9, 170-pound forward did give Tampa Bay an energy boost.

And even though there were only four seconds left in the frame, that energy carried into the third period.

“He’s not afraid of anyone,” Lightning forward Alex Killorn said. “More with Gordo, it’s just his work ethic. That’s just kind of infectious I think. It’s hard to pick out a shift or a time in his season where he hasn’t been at least giving it his all or working his hardest.”

Said coach Jon Cooper, “The one thing about Yanni in this league is if he’s picking a fight, he’s going to be the smallest guy in it. But he’ll have the biggest heart and that’s what he showed yesterday.”

Gourde said Wednesday afternoon that the fight was initiated after Nordstrom cross-checked him as the Lightning forward went for a loose puck and tried to score.

“Fighting is part of the game,” he said. “I think at the time it felt right to bring some energy to my team and I thought it was the right thing.”

Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.