B efore Nashville’s March 12 game against the Phoenix Coyotes, Francis Bouillon had not scored a goal in 87 games. On that night, he ended his drought and the Predators emerged victorious.
Two weeks and 7 games later, Bouillon netted his second goal of the season at Chicago. The Predators won that game as well.
Two days later, Bouillon scored his third against the Detroit Red Wings and, yet again, the Predators won.
Finally, on Thursday night, in the final regular season home game of Nashville’s season, Bouillon broke a scoreless tie and scored yet another on Dallas Stars’ netminder Kari Lehtonen. This goal would turn out to be Nashville’s game-winner.
“You’ve got to be smart,” Bouillon said. “It’s a little bit of luck, too. I just went in there and Hornqvist did a great job putting the puck in front of the net. I was in the right place at the right moment.”
For Bouillon, his recent offensive explosion has come at the perfect time for the Predators. In the thick of the hunt and fighting for home-ice advantage, all of his goals have come in Predators victories.
“It’s nice to put your name on the scoresheet once in a while,” Bouillon said. “It was a crucial game for us – we game out pretty strong tonight. It was a crucial game for them, too, but for us it’s important to get it going before the playoffs start.”
Bouillon admits to changing his playing style a little in the past few weeks.
“I’ve been taking a little more chances,” Bouillon said. “I used to play like that when I was younger. I don’t know why I changed my game, but I like to be involved a little more offensively. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last month and a half, and it seems like it pays, but at the same time my defensive game is my number one priority.”
The 36-year-old veteran also credits his trust in his defensive partner for his recent willingness to take chances.
“Every time you jump in a play, you have to make sure a forward is going to be there to back you up if anything happens,” Bouillon said. “I’ve played with Kevin (Klein) for a while, so I know he’s going to be there for me.”
The Predators are undefeated this season when Bouillon scores. When the defensemen get involved in the offense, Bouillon claims, the game opens up.
“It’s always nice when the defensemen jump in,” Bouillon said. “The forwards like it. It’s always nice to create a 3-on-2 instead of a 2-on-2. It opens more offensive play, so it’s what I try to do.”
As for his 87-game drought that he recently ended, he says that he didn’t get too many heckles about it.
“Maybe from my kids, but not from anyone else.”