Tonight at Amalie Arena one of the all-time favorite Lightning players will return. This time wearing the blue and black jersey of the Seattle Kraken.
Yanni Gourde makes his only visit to Tampa this season and it is bound to be an emotional return for both Gourde and the fans.
Gourde played an important part in both of the Lightning Stanley Cup wins. Gourde was left unprotected by the Lightning and chosen by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft.
Gourde was saddened to be leaving Tampa at the time he was selected by Seattle, but also excited about the future and the possibilities of building something great in Seattle.
But first things first. Gourde is excited to be back in Tampa for one night and is looking forward to seeing the fans. “They were a great organization to me and my family” Gourde said. “I’m super excited to be back in Tampa and play in front of these fans because they were honestly phenomenal to me throughout my career there. I can’t wait to see them.”
Talking about his role on the Kraken Gourde said “It’s great to have that leadership role and be seen as a guy like that,” Gourde said. “But at the same time, it doesn’t change who I am, it doesn’t change what I do. I try to go on the ice and bring as much energy as I can, do the right thing night in and night out.”
The Kraken have gotten off to a rough start at 5-12-1. Gourde missed the first four games of the season recovering from an injury. In the 11 games he has played, Gourde has five goals and six assists for 11 points. Gourde was named an alternate captain and coach Dave Hakstol has called out Gourde for his energy and passion for the game.
Gourde has also embraced his leadership role on the Kraken. “It’s great to have that leadership role and be seen as a guy like that. But at the same time, it doesn’t change who I am, it doesn’t change what I do. I try to go on the ice and bring as much energy as I can, do the right thing night in and night out.”
After the 5-3 loss to the Devils last weekend, The Lightning have picked up points against the Minnesota Wild and the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Lightning did get some bad news after the New Jersey game. Braydon Point suffered an upper body injury and will miss the next four to six weeks. The Lightning will now be without two of their top three scorers with Nikita Kucherov and now Braydon Point out the lineup.
The Lightning are currently 11-4-3 and in third place in the Atlantic Division, four points behind second place Toronto.