It may not have been the smoothest first season that Loui Eriksson has asked for, but his ride is getting a lot smoother thanks to his play in the last few weeks.
Hampered by concussion problems during the first half of the season, Eriksson’s transition from Dallas to Boston hit some rough waters. But now that the Swede is healthy, his two-way game and versatility have been a good fit for the Black and Gold, and because of that, Claude Julien seems comfortable inserting Eriksson in many situations.
That two-way game and versatility was well on display on Saturday where Eriksson filled in for Jarome Iginla, who was out of the lineup for the second time in the last three games, and skated alongside Milan Lucic and David Krejci. The ex-Stars alternate captain didn’t miss a beat, either, as he fired seven shots and tallied a career-high four assists in the Bruins’ 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday afternoon at the TD Garden.
It wasn’t just the four assists and his seven shots that made Eriksson stand out on Saturday. It was the little things, like jumping in on an odd man rush and crashing the net to give Lucic some space for his second of the game. It was the little things like feeding Torey Krug to start that odd man rush. It was also the little things like disrupting the Flyers’ passing lanes.
Those little things have allowed him to play with anyone from Lucic and Krejci, to developing chemistry with Carl Soderberg and Chris Kelly on the third line, and also providing assistance for Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, his linemates at the start of the season.
With a strong locker room presence, there’s little doubt that Eriksson can develop chemistry with anyone he skates with.
“It’s definitely a nice feeling,” Eriksson said. “Like I said, they are such smart players to play with, they do a lot of good things out there. I’m just trying to help them out and today I thought we played really well.
“The way they play, it’s pretty simple. You go out there, and you try to help out.”
Like Rich Peverley before him, dealt in that deal to Dallas along with Tyler Seguin that also brought and “7th Player Award” winner Reilly Smith to Boston, Eriksson’s versatility is vital to the Black and Gold. It’s a situation that Julien and company should feel comfortable with.
It’s also a situation that Eriksson should thrive in. Even though he’s taken awhile to heal and adjust, he is in a much better situation from the first half of the season.