Player of the Week: March 30th-April 5th
Patrice Bergeron may have been the hero Saturday night at TD Garden when he scored the lone goal for the Black and Gold in regulation as well as their only tally in the shootout, which was enough to hold off the bottom feeding Toronto Maple Leafs. It could have been Tuukka Rask for standing on his head at certain times, but Carl Soderberg had one of his better weeks in recent memory in the Bruins’ 3-0-0 stretch and that cannot go unnoticed.
When the B’s were playing two of their worst periods of the season in Detroit, it was Soderberg who brought Claude Julien’s team back to life by cutting the deficit to 2-1 with a power-play goal. From there, the momentum and the ice shifted. Fellow Swede Loui Eriksson tied the game seconds later before rookie defenseman Zach Trotman scored his first NHL goal to give the Black and Gold a stunning 3-2 triumph over the Red Wings in one of their more important victories of the year.
The center finished the week with a goal and two assists, but has been showing signs of the player he was earlier on in the season. Dating back to his last five games, the 29 year-old has six points (two goals, four assists). Before his goal against Ottawa on March 19th, Soderberg hadn’t scored since January 17th against the Columbus Blue Jackets — a span of 25 games.
It seems as if Soderberg is turning the corner again at the perfect time for the Black and Gold. In his last nine games, the Swedish forward has scored three times.
Soderberg has played in all 79 games for Boston this season and even though he struggled at times, he still ranks tied for third in points on the team along with Milan Lucic (44). He trails Eriksson by one point and the team leader Bergeron by 10 points.
With David Krejci returning and Brett Connolly’s debut finally in the books, Julien has shifted many players on different lines including Soderberg and it seems to be helping his cause.
On Boston.com: Connolly, fourth line, brings fresh perspective
In last Sunday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes where the B’s won in overtime, Soderberg rushed up the ice with a head of steam before dishing a back-handed no-look pass to David Pastrnak for the game-winner. Soderberg has been playing better for quite some time now, which is refreshing to see at such a crucial time of the year.
Last year, Soderberg finished with 48 points (16 goals, 32 assists) in 73 games. With three games remaining in the regular season, the center has a chance to eclipse his career high in points for the B’s in a short sample size (158 games).
It is amazing to see that the B’s are still in the hunt for a playoff spot with one of their key contributors not scoring a goal for nearly two months. If they can get the production Soderberg has provided for the last two weeks, they may be in for a nice postseason run, but they have to get there first.