Simon Gagne went from a guy who wasn't even supposed to play to a hero in his first game back from a neck problem.
Gagne had missed 18 games with the injury, but was in the lineup on Tuesday and showed why the Tampa Bay Lightning were so eager to get him as he ripped a wrist shot past Johan Gustavsson for the game-winner 1:15 into overtime, giving the Bolts a 4-3 victory against the Maple Leafs at Toronto.
"Anything we can do to make sure that the players are able to focus on what they've got to do," said Boucher. "Especially in a situation like this where it's big for him to come back and wonder how it's going to go. I think you keep it down to the smallest expression coming into today (so he can) just think of his game. I think it was really important.
"(It's) pressure off him ... and I think it worked out pretty good."
Gagne's teammates were delighted to have him back.
"It's been really hard," said St. Louis. "He's a battler, he's a guy that wants to be out there and help his team win. It's not only been tough for him, it's been tough for us to not have him. You know what he can bring.
"We're happy to have him back."The loss spoiled a fine effort by Gustavsson, who stopped 35 shots despite not getting a lot of help from his defense on several occasions.
"We'd love to get him some wins, because he deserves them," center Tim Brant said. "It definitely wasn't his fault. We kind of let it slip away."The Leafs looked to be in command when Nikolai Kulemin capitalized on a bad bounce off the boards to put the puck into a wide-open net at 7:23 of the third period for a 3-1 lead. Joey Crabb's dump-in took an odd bounce off the end boards and kicked back into the slot. Ellis tried to bat it out of harm's way but managed only to deflect it. Kulemin crashed the net and put the puck into the net for his second of the night.
|Kris Versteeg (7) ASST: Tyler Bozak (4), Carl Gunnarsson (2)|
1 - 0 TOR
|PPG - Ryan Malone (6) ASST: Simon Gagne (1)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Nikolai Kulemin (8) ASST: Tomas Kaberle (11), Kris Versteeg (7)|
2 - 1 TOR
|Nikolai Kulemin (9) ASST: Joey Crabb (1), Mike Komisarek (6)|
3 - 1 TOR
|Martin St. Louis (9) ASST: Steve Downie (12)|
3 - 2 TOR
|Martin St. Louis (10) ASST: Steven Stamkos (19), Dominic Moore (5)|
3 - 3 Tie
|Simon Gagne (1) ASST: Brett Clark (6)|
4 - 3 TBL
|Mike Komisarek Tripping against Steven Stamkos|
|Kris Versteeg Tripping against Mathieu Roy|
|Nikolai Kulemin Hooking against Sean Bergenheim|
|Nikolai Kulemin Boarding against Nate Thompson|
|Steve Downie Too many men/ice - bench|
|Victor Hedman Tripping against Tyler Bozak|
|Randy Jones Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Nikolai Kulemin Hooking against Martin St. Louis|
|Randy Jones Holding the stick against Mikhail Grabovski|