Michael Bournival thriving for Canadiens in playoffs | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaMichael Bournival thriving for Canadiens in playoffs

Posted: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 | 12:58 PM

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Speedy rookie forward Michael Bournival posted seven goals and 14 points in 60 regular-season games with the Canadiens. (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images) Speedy rookie forward Michael Bournival posted seven goals and 14 points in 60 regular-season games with the Canadiens. (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

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Montreal Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien made a few lineup tweaks on Tuesday to help his club win Game 3 4-2 over the Boston Bruins. Placing rookie Michael Bournival on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Thomas Vanek was one of those moves.

On his fourth shift with new linemates, Michael Bournival made an impact.

The Montreal Canadiens rookie utilized his speed to get in on the forecheck and create a turnover deep in the Boston Bruins end. Bournival rushed goalie Tuukka Rask into making a bad outlet pass into the skates of Bruins defenceman Kevan Miller, then kept the puck alive along the boards. 

Bournival whisked it around to P.K. Subban on the other side and, moments later, Thomas Vanek found Tomas Plekanec with a slap pass and Montreal enjoyed a 1-0 lead en route to a 4-2 victory in Game 3 at Bell Centre on Tuesday.

Chalk one up for Michel Therrien.

The Canadiens head coach made a few fruitful adjustments for Game 3 of the second-round playoff series, which Montreal leads 2-1. With Brandon Prust out with an undisclosed injury, Therrien moved Bournival back into the lineup and up on the second line alongside Plekanec and Vanek rather than his usual place Bournival on the left side of the fourth line. 

"We need energy on every line and this was a decision we made [Monday]," Therrien said. "We wanted energy on every line and this is exactly what we got right now.

"I like the balance we could show on every line. It's crucial for any hockey team."

Besides the insertion of Bournival on the second line, Therrien also moved Vanek off the top trio and replaced him with the energetic Brendan Gallagher.

If there was a young player on the Canadiens roster ready to deal with the playoff pressure cooker in Montreal, it was Bournival.

He played for Canada at the 2012 world junior championship in Edmonton and Calgary with his future Canadiens teammates, Gallagher and Nathan Beaulieu

Bournival played four years of junior at home, for the Shawinigan Cataractes, under the watchful eye of family and friends. It is never easy for a teenager to play at home in junior because of the constant scrutiny and advice. His father, Jean, was his minor hockey coach, after all. But Bournival thrived with his hard work and two-way play.

That's why he didn't mind a few months after the Colorado Avalanche selected him in the third round of the 2010 NHL entry draft that the Canadiens traded for him in exchange for defenceman Ryan O'Byrne.

Bournival did, however, struggle when the playoffs rolled around in his final season in Shawinigan. The Cataractes were the host team for the 2012 Memorial Cup. But they were thrust to the sidelines in the second round after a seven-game loss to Charles Hudon and the Chicoutimi Sagueneens.

A 30-goal scorer in 41 regular-season games, Bournival checked in with only one goal in 11 playoff games that spring. He later admitted he put too much pressure on himself. As the Cataractes captain, his face was all over Shawinigan on a poster with Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur to promote the Memorial Cup. Lafleur just happened to be his dad's favourite player.

Because the Cataractes went out in the second round, they had 31 days off to prepare themselves for the Memorial Cup tournament. Shawinigan head coach Eric Veilleux, who brought in Bob Hartley as an advisor, put the Cataractes through an arduous training camp.

Bournival refreshed mentally and was much more effective when the national championship tournament rolled around. He scored three goals and seven points in six games and set up Anton Zlobin, a Pittsburgh Penguins prospect, with a pinpoint pass from behind the net for the overtime winner in the final against Jarred Tinordi and the London Knights.

Follow Tim Wharnsby on Twitter @WharnsbyCBC

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