The Nashville Predators have taken a 3-1 series lead over the Detroit Red Wings. One reason for the Preds success is the production from unexpected players.
To open the series, Gabriel Bourque scored a pair of goals including the game winner Gabriel Bourque scores from Nick Spaling 4/11/12 and lit the lamp again in game four Gabriel Bourque goal. Nashville Predators vs Detroit Red Wings 4/17/12 NHL Hockey. The 21 year old rookie only put up seven goals in 43 regular season games, but has emerged as a clutch performer in this series for Nashville. The Rimouski Quebec native played four season in the Qubec Major Junior Hockey League, 3 seasons with Baie-Comeau Drakkar and one with the Moncton Wildcats. He scored 48 goals and racked up 141 points in 180 career games in the QMJHL. Bourque turned pro last season with the Preds American Hockey League affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals. In 78 games with the Admirals, Bourque racked up 18 goals, 18 assists, for 36 points, and was a +10, a respectable season for any rookie. A couple things have become clear about Bourque, he has the potential to get better and better, and he can score a big goal when his team needs it.
Another suprise preformer is defensemen Kevin Klein. Klein scored a big goal in the Preds game three victory Kevin Klein goal. Nashville Predators vs Detroit Red Wings 4/15/12 NHL Hockey and then followed it up with the go ahead goal in game four to help Nashville take control of the series Kevin Klein scores on pass from Erat 4/17/12. This clutch scoring touch comes as a surprise as he had just four goals in 66 regular season games for the Preds. Klein, a native of Kitchener Ontario, played in 244 regular season games in the Ontario Hockey League over 5 seasons with the St. Michaels Majors and Guelph Storm. During his time in the OHL, Klein scored 25 goals and racked up 120 points. The 27 year old turned pro in 2004-2005 and spent the next few seasons seeing limited action in Nashville while mainly playing in the AHL with the Preds affiliate in Milwaukee. In 2008-2009, the defensemen spent the majority of the season in the NHL for the first time and has been a solid part of the teams blue line depth ever since.
Nashville has a chance to put away the Red Wings on Friday night as they look to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second straight season. As the Preds look to make a deep run, one thing that they will need is continued production from their depth players and scoring spread throughout their lineup.
Andrew is Blue Jackets correspondent and an up and coming writer planning on a long career in the hockey world. His eventual goal is to be a play by play broadcaster.