BROSSARD – A solid work ethic is a must for any player at the National Hockey League level; the members of the Habs’ new-look fourth line will be the first to tell you that.
The hard-charging trio of Travis Moen, Ryan White and Michael Bournival made its presence felt during the Habs’ convincing 6-2 home win over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night. The line worked diligently at both ends of the rink. Moen’s efforts on the forecheck led to Bournival’s sixth goal of the season, and the three players were even used on the powerplay late in the game as a special treat from head coach Michel Therrien. All in a good day’s work, it seemed.
Just over twelve hours later, however, they were already back on the ice, taking part in drills during the team’s optional practice at the Bell Sports Complex. After getting a good sweat going at practice, centerman Ryan White weighed in on what makes the line a success.
“I feel like we’ve been pretty consistent all year long, providing energy when we’re on the ice and keeping a good attitude and being positive on the bench,” related White, who rarely plays north of ten minutes per game, but is always counted on by the coaching staff to make a positive impact. “We scored a goal and drew a penalty, so it was nice to see the coach show confidence in us by giving us some powerplay time.”
While the pivot from Brandon, Manitoba has accommodated a variety of wingers since the start of the season, he has only good things to say about the lunch pail-carrying fellows he lines up with on a nightly basis.
“I’m pretty familiar with Moen, so I seem to know where he is out there all the time. We’ve played with Bournival before and it’s easy to be on the ice with him because he works so hard. He complements us well, he has a good spark and he’s always making good plays. He reminds me of Gallagher a lot,” revealed the gritty forward regarding his rookie teammate, who is a surprising third on the team with six goals already. “He never stops, it’s like he’s got a little Energizer Bunny in him. He’s always on the puck and it just seems to follow him around.”
Talking to Bournival himself, though, it would appear that it is just business as usual.
“At the start of the season, I was just focused on making the team,” admitted the 21 year-old from Shawinigan, Quebec. “I try to make a difference wherever I play.”
While he had been a noted goal scorer during his junior days, Bournival’s rugged style and well-honed stride has been a good fit on the Habs’ checking line as well.
“For sure you play less often on the fourth line, but that just means you’re fresher when you do get on the ice. It doesn’t matter whether I’m on the second or the fourth line, I try to give everything I’ve got when I play,” offered Bournival, who first broke out on the scoresheet when placed in a different context on an offensive line with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta earlier in the season. “My goal is to help the team win games, whether it’s by throwing a big check, creating a turnover or blocking a shot.”
With a glut of established NHL veterans in the Canadiens’ top nine, Bournival may have to bide his time when it comes to getting another crack at prime icetime, but with the help of Moen and White, his next big break will come sooner rather than later.
Jack Han writes for canadiens.com.