BOSTON, MA - His father’s Number 77 hangs from the rafters at TD Garden. It hovers over his head as he skates up and down the ice.
But all week long during training camp Chris Bourque has talked about his father Ray’s legacy hanging over him only in a literal sense, not a mental one. He doesn’t let being his father’s son define him when he’s on the ice. He is trying to create his own legacy.
Bourque said during Tuesday’s morning skate that he has dreamt of playing on the Garden ice as a Bruin - he played there during the 2005 Beanpot when he was at Boston University - since the days when he used to run around the B’s locker room as a child.
On Tuesday night he finally got his chance. And he didn’t disappoint.
Even though the B’s lost a 7-5 thriller to their friends from Providence, Bourque delivered. The left wing had a goal and two assists in a performance that could be a huge factor in whether he breaks camp with Boston.
“It was great,” said Bourque on playing at the Garden. “I think I’ve said it a thousand times. It’s something that I’ve always dreamed of, putting that Bruins sweater on and skating on Garden ice. It felt great to finally do it.
“Hopefully I get a chance to do that on Saturday night [against the Rangers].”
After Tuesday, he may very well get that chance to stay in the third line left wing spot alongside Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley. Head coach Claude Julien was asked after the game if anybody in particular stood out as having a positive game and the first name that came to his mind was Chris Bourque.
“Chris Bourque I thought had a pretty good game,” said head coach Claude Julien. “Here’s a guy that’s been playing since October in North America. I thought Bourque played a pretty decent game. We had some guys that played pretty well and Kelly, Peverley, that line gave us some good things.”
Bourque has been gelling in his new role and early in the second period he got to show off his skill to the Garden faithful. After receiving a pass through the neutral zone from Dennis Seidenberg, Bourque skated into the offensive zone and fired a slap shot from the left face-off dot that dribbled through Anton Khudobin’s five-hole to tie the game at one.
“It felt good to get on the score sheet,” said Bourque. “But the main thing is winning and getting the - obviously not the two points, it’s an exhibition game - but you always want to win.”
Bourque wasn’t finished. With the Bruins down 5-3 and on the power play, he dished a pass to Brad Marchand in the corner. Marchand then delivered a cross-ice pass to Seidenberg, who was streaking in from the point and sniped one past Khudobin, cutting the deficit to one.
“That’s a play that we want to run out there,” said Bourque. “A drop-off to [Marchand] and hit [Seidenberg] on the back door. He had an unbelievable shot, I think it went bar down. It’s good to get one on the power play. It’s something they’ve been stressing throughout camp, so it’s nice to get one.”
Just over two minutes later, Bourque added another assist on Peverley’s tying goal.
Bourque, who is the Baby B’s leading scorer with 8-20–28 totals in 32 games, was happy for his other team’s performance.
“[Providence] is a really hard working team out there,” said Bourque. “It seems like when I was down there, every game we’d only score two or three goals. For them to put up seven against the Boston Bruins, you’ve got to tip your cap to them. We’ve been struggling to score goals but it didn’t really look like that tonight for them.”