It’s a little difficult to remember the reaction to Benoit Pouliot’s acquisition last summer. With the rage of the lockout still fresh in our minds, a lot of the details went out the window. The fourth overall draft pick in 2005 has struggled with consistency in Minnesota, Montreal, and Boston. That’s changing quickly here in Tampa. Benoit is finding his game in a big way and the Bolts are more than reaping the benefits.
Through his last 10 games Pouliot has amassed 12 points. That includes a three assists in Tuesday’s victory and two goals in Saturday’s win (including the game winner in overtime). His speed and great shot have been a very welcome addition to Tampa’s arsenal. He earned a reputation of not wanting to mix it up in the tough areas of the ice earlier in his career, not that you could tell by his play so far. A number of his goals have come from right near the crease, a rough spot usually inhabited by Ryan Malone and Dave Andreychuk before him.
“He’s hitting, he’s skating, his presence in front of the net has been unbelievable, so he screens and he’s not scared,” Guy Boucher said. “He’s brought some scoring depth, speed, size, agility and power play. For us that’s been big because we were missing that last year . . . and it’s giving us some secondary scoring that we didn’t have last year.” (Quote Source: Tampa Tribune)
Pouliot’s former team is in town for Thursday’s game at the Forum. It will be his first time facing the Bruins since coming to the Lightning. The Bs are a big, tough team and many don’t expect much from the Bolts in the way of physicality. They may be known as more of a skill, finesse squad but Pouliot is one of the roster additions that have made them bigger. And tougher. This ought to be a good one.