BOSTON -- Yanni Gourde will have a heck of a story to tell his daughter when she gets older. For now, he just wants to get some sleep.
The Tampa Bay Lightning forward played in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Wednesday roughly 25 hours after his wife, Marie-Andree, gave birth to the couple's first child, Emma Kate.
Gourde had an assist and played 12:32 in Tampa Bay's 4-1 win. The Lightning lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.
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"It's been an amazing, awesome experience," Gourde said. "I'm so glad I could be there for my wife. It was just an amazing experience. It's really cool that I could make it for the game tonight. Just overall, the past 24 hours have been really amazing."
Emma Kate entered the world around 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday, roughly five hours after the Lightning plane left for Boston without her dad.
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Gourde stayed overnight at the hospital with his wife and daughter. He took a flight to Boston on Wednesday morning and arrived by noon, after the Lightning's morning skate but in time to make it for the pregame meal and nap.
"I was ready to go," Gourde said. "Obviously, there's a lot of adrenaline going and I think it kind of helped me go through tonight's game."
Lightning coach Jon Cooper had no doubt Gourde could make a difference, and he did; Gourde had the primary assist on Anthony Cirelli's goal at 16:43 of the first period that gave the Lightning a 3-1 lead.
"What was unreal today is we had the pregame skate, which he couldn't be a part of because he was flying up today, but he was waiting in the meal room when everybody arrived and literally it was like we scored a game-winning goal," Cooper said. "Everybody was hugs all around for him. It's a team that cares but a team, and I used the word perspective this morning, that has perspective. They were so happy for him.
"He spent all day in the hospital, slept in the hospital, and then he had to jump on a flight this morning. I'm pretty sure he doesn't remember the flight because I think he slept the whole way. And then to play in a Stanley Cup Playoff game, pretty remarkable. And then to perform the way he did, you've got to tip your hat to him."
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