BOSTON — Eight years have passed since Boston Bruins left winger Benoit Pouliot's father, Sylvain Pouliot, died of leukemia.
But not one day passes without Pouliot thinking of Sylvain, who passed away in February 2004.
"He took care of me and got me involved with hockey and sports and that's why I am here right now," Pouliot said. "It's because of him. Obviously, I think about him every day. Yeah, it's been a long time. But at the same time, he's my dad and so it's something you have in the back of your mind all the time."
Sylvain is a tremendous source of motivation for Pouliot, who scored the game-winning goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning last night here at the TD Garden. Pouliot netted his goal 11:34 into the third period, breaking a 2-2 tie. The Bruins went on to win 5-2.
Right now, Pouliot, who has five goals and seven assists in his last 10 games, is playing terrific alongside Chris Kelly and Brian Rolston on Boston's extremely hot third line.
The 6-foot-3, 199-pounder has 14 goals and 16 assists this year, tying his career-high 30-point regular season in 2010-11 with the Montreal Canadiens. And that's in 11 fewer games.
Pouliot's career hasn't lived up to expectations yet. Projected to be a prolific scorer, he has 102 points over parts of six NHL seasons.
Pouliot is determined to have a successful career for himself and for his dad, who Pouliot believes still is watching him.
"I just want to do something out there for him," Pouliot said.
The Minnesota Wild selected Pouliot fourth overall in the 2005 draft — the same draft Sidney Crosby was taken first overall by Pittsburgh.
Pouliot played in just 65 games over parts of 3 1/2 seasons with Minnesota, tallying just nine goals and nine assists. He spent most of his time in the minors before being dealt to Montreal on Nov. 23, 2009.