With Jarome Iginla nursing a lower-body injury, the Boston Bruins needed someone to fill the void on the first line. Well, Loui Eriksson answered the bell playing alongside David Krejci and Milan Lucic dishing out four assists in the Bruins 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.
Not only did Eriksson fill in on the first line, he played on the second line and third line over the last week to give Claude Julien some different looks once the playoffs roll around, but in our estimation Eriksson will be slotted alongside Carl Soderberg and Chris Kelly once the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin.
Eriksson riffled seven shots on goal which was a season high for him against the Flyers so his confidence of trying to find the back of the net is slowly rising.
We all know Eriksson had a tough year trying to come back from two concussions, but it finally looks like he is hitting his stride. The right-winger now has eight goals and 26 assists on the season in 57 games while posting an all important plus-17 rating.
Many Bruins fans may think the “Seguin mega-deal” was a mistake with the way Reilly Smith is playing as of late and the inconsistency of Eriksson, but Smith won the team’s Seventh Player of the Year Award while Eriksson does the little things as Patrice Bergeron does that do not show up in the stat sheet. He makes the great break out pass, he has a great fore check, he beats his guy to the net creating space for the goal scorer or something as simple as a stick lift, Eriksson does many things on the ice that help the Black and Gold win games and he has been doing a lot of it lately. It is coming at the most opportune time for the B’s.
Julien reiterated the smarts Eriksson has and now we are finally starting to see the player fans expected in return for Tyler Seguin.
Julien believes now that Eriksson is healthy he is finally getting more comfortable in the system and on the ice.
“He’s past the injuries,” Julien said. “He is really feeling comfortable with playing in our system and the way we think and the way we play the game. I think all of that stuff just keeps getting better and better for him. So he’s one of those guys that is very consistent in his play. So now that he’s better, I think you’re seeing a consistent player night in and night out.”
Eriksson recorded a career high four assists versus the Flyers and admitted his time at the Olympics really has changed his game.
“I thought the Olympics helped me a lot,” Eriksson said. “I got some games there and I’m just trying to build off of that. I’m just trying to get better every game and it’s definitely nice to play on this team. It’s a really good team to play for and I’m really excited to get going here with the playoffs and everything.”
With the excellent consistent play of Carl Soderberg and now the tremendous play by Eriksson, the B’s third line can create significant mismatches throughout their playoff run. Not to mention if anything were to happen to any of the B’s top-six forwards, Eriksson can be slated in essentially anywhere. He is very valuable and “underrated” and now we are seeing glimpses of the guy the B’s coveted in Dallas.