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From the Garden: Eriksson Plays Hero for the Bruins

TD GARDEN – It wasn’t pretty, but the Bruins fought back from a third-period deficit to defeat the Buffalo Sabres, 4-3, in overtime Sunday night.

Defenseman Dougie Hamilton had two goals and an assist in the contest, and was big factor in the Bruins offense. Loui Eriksson buried the OT winner to help the Black and Gold move to 17-14-3 on the year and into fifth place in the Atlantic Division.

Here’s a rapid take on the game, broken down into pluses and minuses.

Plus

Loui Eriksson – Eriksson started the game on a line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci, and played on the power play with Carl Soderberg, before moving back to the wing with Soderberg and Chris Kelly.

Eriksson sealed it for the Bruins after Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara teamed up to give him a partial break.

Eriksson has been red-hot of late, and on Sunday it didn’t matter the situation; he was making a huge impact. He has 4-2–6 totals in four of his last seven games, including a goal and an assist Sunday.

Check out locker room video from Eriksson:

 

Dougie Hamilton and Zdeno Chara – When Matt Bartkowski was ejected late in the first, the B’s relied heavily on these two to pick up the slack. Both players got 25-plus minutes of ice time, and it paid off. Hamilton had a two goals and an assist, while Chara notched two helpers.

Soderberg and Chris Kelly – Can we even call this line the third line? They are driving the Bruins right now. Kelly is currently riding a four-game point streak after his goal Sunday night. Soderberg was setting up key scoring opportunities for Boston, including the assist on Hamilton’s power play goal in the first.

Reilly Smith – Smith scored a goal just minutes into the contest, only to have it waived off due to a phantom goalie interference call. He would later drill a post when the Bruins were trailing 3-2 late in the third. Smith has been hot of late, with 4-3–7 totals in his last eight games.

Head Coach Claude Julien on Smith’s non-goal: 

Minus

Matt Bartkowski – Getting ejected for interference and leaving your team shorthanded for the game doesn’t really make a plus, does it?

The Second Period – Despite early chances, the Bruins as a team, were terrible in the middle frame. Buffalo was able to establish a clean breakout and fired 15 shots on the Boston net.

Andrej Meszaros tied the game six minutes in, scoring his first goal in 26 games off an odd-man rush.

Rasmus Ristolainen scored the go-ahead goal when the puck deflected off of Torey Krug and in with 5:30 remaining in the period.

Early Third Period – Again, the Bruins were so bad as a team, it’s hard to pick one player to explain the opening of the third period.

Tim Schaller scored his first career goal to put the Sabres up 3-2 just 1:27 in. It looked like that goal would stand until the Bruins started to gain traction late in the period.

Goalie Tuukka Rask shares his thoughts on the win:

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