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Third line first-rate for Bruins as they are ‘playing smart and simple’ against Canadiens

05.11.14 at 8:33 am ET
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Keep it simple.

It’s a time-tested cliche in sports and the Bruins third line is proving that it’s also a very effective way to finally get through the Canadiens’ wall of defense and establish the style of play needed to advance.

Loui Eriksson and Carl Soderberg each had a goal and an assist while Matt Fraser added an assist to help the Bruins build a 3-0 lead on their way to a 4-2 win Saturday night in Game 5 of their best-of-seven series against the Canadiens at TD Garden.

The third line was responsible for the only goal of Game 4 as Fraser scored within the first two minutes of overtime on a rebound from a shot by Soderberg. Since being down 2-1, the Bruins re-worked third line has single-handedly turned the Canadiens and the series around.

“We’€™re playing really good. We’€™re playing smart and simple and making good plays and we’€™re getting some really good chances out there. So, it definitely feels good. We have to keep doing that,” Eriksson said. “I thought in the game the other night we played really well, too. It was nice that we kept going in this game and I thought we played a really good game. So, it was definitely nice.”

“We are pretty good team to play with a league and they are, too,” said Soderberg, who was wearing the winner’s jacket on the dais postgame. “So I think in four of five games, the first goal scorers have won the game. It’€™s always important, especially in the second and third.”

Since Chris Kelly went down late in the regular season, the Bruins have been searching for an answer on the third line. They tried Justin Florek, who had a measure of success against the Red Wings in the opening round. But before Game 4 in Montreal, Peter Chiarelli decided to call up Fraser, who along with Reilly Smith and Eriksson, is yet another product of the Tyler Seguin trade.

“Yeah, I play with whoever Coach [Julien] wants to play with me. But right now since Fraz [Matt Fraser] came in and he scored the game winner last game and it seems like he is fitting in pretty well with our line. Loui [Eriksson] and I, I think we have played good the whole playoffs but we haven’€™t scored so it is a good both of us scored,” Soderberg said of the line chemistry.

“It always takes [time] — with [Chris] Kelly we had before, it took like 10 games, 15 games to get the chemistry together but then it was all set. Loui [Eriksson] and I had that chemistry for a long time and now we have changed the third guy in our line and, I don’€™t know. It seems like Fras [Matt Fraser] is a pretty good option there.

“You just kind of roll with it and it’€™s amazing what a little confidence can do with a line, and they’€™re fun guys to play with. They work well with the puck, and I just try and kind of read off them and find the open areas.”

What’s been the key to the turnaround?

“I don’€™t know. I think we’€™re three hard working guys and not only us, but this whole team,” Fraser said. “This is a hard-working team, and I think you’€™ve got to pride yourself on your work ethic, especially in the playoffs because, it’€™s cliche, but it’€™s a game of inches. They still count. It doesn’€™t matter if they’€™re going off your butt or your knee, or, you know, it’€™s a nice goal, so we’€™ll take them.

“Everyone in this dressing room is so talented. It’€™s hard not to click. Everyone is so good. Everyone, that’€™s obviously why they’€™re in the NHL. As a guy being inserted in a line you just want to make that transition easy for them and find the open areas.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Carl Soderberg, Loui Eriksson, Matt Fraser
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