The Montreal Canadiens exceeded expectations this year by reaching the Eastern Conference Finals, during which they took the New York Rangers to six games despite being without their starting goaltender Carey Price. They went deep in the playoffs for many different reasons, and one of those reasons happens to wear the number 17. At the time the Canadiens were eliminated from the playoffs, Rene Bourque was tied for second place league-wide in postseason scoring with eight goals, a pretty impressive statistic considering he only had three goals in 10 career playoff games before this year.
Bourque was acquired by the Canadiens in 2012 in a four-player trade that sent Mike Cammalleri and other goods to the Calgary Flames in 2012. Since then, Bourque has been a disappointment, posting 21 goals and 37 points in 128 games for the Canadiens. It’s not like he was never a good player, as he has had three 20-plus goal seasons, including a 27-goal, 58-point campaign in 2009-10. All hope seemed to be lost for the Alberta native, at least until this postseason.
Coming into the playoffs this year, Montreal was heavily relying on players like Max Pacioretty and Thomas Vanek to lead them in scoring, but they were pleasantly surprised when Rene Bourque found his way near the top of the postseason scoring list. After only nine goals and 16 points in 63 games this regular season, Bourque was on fire, posting eight goals an 11 points in 17 games this postseason. He was all over the ice, playing physical and creating chances for his teammates in every game he played in.
Canadiens fans have learned not to expect a lot from Rene Bourque over the last few seasons, but after this wildly successful run for Bourque and the Habs, can he be counted on to carry over his great play into the 2014-2015 season? I don’t think so. Bourque is 32 years old now, and I think this postseason was the last highlight in his career, which could be over as soon as his current contract expires at the end of the 2016 season. I’m not saying this to belittle Bourque’s playoff accomplishments, but I haven’t seen enough consistent play from him since he came to Montreal to believe he has anymore good seasons in him. I’d love to see him prove me wrong, but as it stands now, it’s all downhill from here for Rene Bourque.