|5 things we learned: Very good player Loui Eriksson’s hat trick leads Bruins past Wild||11.19.15 at 9:40 pm ET|
In a season that’s featured plenty of bad, no Bruins player has been as good as Loui Eriksson. The 30-year-old provided another reminder on Thursday night.
Eriksson picked up his first hat trick as a Bruin as he scored Boston’s second, third and fourth goals in a 4-2 win over the Wild. It took Eriksson only 16:37 to score his three goals.
While it was Eriksson’s first three-goal showing with the B’s, it was also his third multi-goal performance in 18 games this season. Eriksson now leads the Bruins with nine goals on the season, one ahead of linemate David Krejci‘s eight.
With Thursday’s performance, it’s probably worth noting again that Eriksson is in the final year of a contract that carries a $4.25 million cap hit. Teams don’t get better by losing their best players, so the Bruins would be wise to do their best to try and retain the player.
Here are four more things we learned Thursday night:
HIT ENDS VATRANO’S NIGHT
Rookie callup Frank Vatrano went hard into the endboards on his first shift of the second period and did not return to the game. Vatrano went turned at the last second as he was set to absorb a hit from Nate Prosser, resulting in him appearing to hit the boards with his right shoulder taking the brunt of the impact. Claude Julien told reporters following the game that Vatrano had an upper-body injury.
Vatrano had taken warmups with David Krejci and Loui Eriksson, but he also saw time with Ryan Spooner and Brett Connolly in the first period, taking only four shifts in the first 20 minutes.
If Vatrano is to miss any time, the Bruins would likely have to recall Max Talbot from Providence, as they currently have only 12 forwards on their roster and Providence forwards Alexander Khokhlachev, Seth Griffith and Brian Ferlin are injured.
PK STEPS UP
The Bruins did a very un-Bruins thing Thursday by killing penalties successfully.
After entering the night with the worst penalty kill in the league, the B’s managed to kill off all three of Minnesota’s power plays, including a Brad Marchand hooking penalty at 15:53 of the third period that saw the Wild pull Devan Dubnyk and go 6-on-4.
By going 3-for-3 on the PK, the Bruins killed off all their penalties in a game for just the third time this season, not counting the season-opener in which the Jets never went on the power play.
BELESKEY DROPS THE GLOVES
Matt Beleskey hasn’t been a standout player to this point with the B’s, but it’s certainly not for lack of effort. Beleskey works hard and he plays as physical a game he can, as is evidenced by the fact that he leads the team in hits (which, to remind everyone, is the worst and dumbest stat in sports because it’s an anti-possession stat, but I digress).
On Thursday, Beleskey’s toughness was tested in his first fight with the Bruins. The former Duck passed with flying colors, pounding Brett Bulmer to the ice in short order 5:34 into the game. Beleskey had drawn a tripping penalty on Bulmer earlier in the period.
BRUINS SWITCH MILLERS
Kevan Miller sat out with an upper-body injury Thursday, allowing Colin Miller to re-enter the lineup after a two game stint in the press box.
Miller had an up-and-down night, as he started the rush that resulted in Eriksson’s third goal but also played a part in a goal against. He didn’t catch a pass from Zdeno Chara at the Bruins’ blue line in the second period, resulting in a turnover. That led to Nino Niederreiter feeding Mikko Koivu, whose shot yielded a rebound that Jason Zucker buried past Jonas Gustavsson just over five minutes into the second period for Minnesota’s first goal.
|Claude Julien ‘disappointed’ by no-goal ruling, but says he won’t hesitate to use challenge in future||10.10.15 at 11:24 pm ET|
Goalie interference? Uh, okay… pic.twitter.com/KpkX8qykna
‘ Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) October 11, 2015
The play and review seemed pretty straightforward. The refs waved off a Loui Eriksson goal because Patrice Bergeron made contact with Carey Price. However, Bergeron was clearly pushed into Price by Alexei Emelin, meaning the goal should have been allowed.
It was understandable that the refs missed it in real time; hockey is a fast game and sometimes you just don’t catch that push. But once Julien decided to use his challenge, it seemed like a pretty safe bet that the no-goal call would be overturned.
Instead, the refs upheld the call on the ice. Why they upheld it remains a mystery, with the league’s official statement saying simply that the review “confirmed that Boston’s Patrice Bergeron made incidental contact with Montreal goaltender Carey Price before the puck crossed the goal line, preventing Price from doing his job in the crease.” No mention of Emelin’s shove. No mention of the fact that Bergeron actually made an effort to stay out of the crease while getting pushed.
Julien said he was “disappointed” with the call and didn’t understand why it wasn’t a goal.
“I really felt, and I looked at it in between periods, and I said how can that not be a goal when the guy has both feet outside the blue paint and is doing everything he can to stay out of his way and is really trying to fight off the guy trying to push him in,” Julien said. “So, I thought that warranted obviously a goal, but for some reason they saw it some other way.”
Goalie interference plays are one of two things coaches can challenge (with goals scored on a potential offsides being the other), and Julien said it’s his understanding that whether or not a player was pushed into the goalie is part of what can be reviewed, which would rule out the possibility that the refs could only look at Bergeron’s contact with Price and not how he got there.
Bergeron couldn’t make sense of the ruling either, as he also thought that being pushed into Price should’ve negated the interference.
“That was my understanding of the rule,” Bergeron said. “They thought otherwise and we can’t really control that, I guess. … It happens fast, so I guess I understood that maybe he thought that I pushed into the goalie. But then on the replay, I thought it was clear that I got pushed into him. My understanding was that if I get pushed into the goalie and I’m working hard to get out of there, it’s fine.”
Julien said that despite the fact that this challenge didn’t go the way he expected, he wouldn’t hesitate to challenge a similar situation in the future.
“That’s a thing you’ve got to be careful of — you can’t [be discouraged],” Julien said. “In our minds, the people that looked at it in the first place all felt it should have been a goal, and I went back to my office in between periods and I felt it should have been a goal. But if you’re afraid to call those then you may miss an opportunity to either get a goal called for you or the other way around, a goal rescinded from what you think was interference.”
The disallowed goal certainly isn’t the reason the Bruins lost Saturday. More turnovers, more defensive mistakes and an inability to get the puck out of their own zone had a lot more to do with Saturday night’s 4-2 loss than that one call. But there’s no denying that it was a turning point of sorts, especially since the Canadiens scored just over a minute later to make it 3-0.
|Bruins will experiment with Loui Eriksson, Jimmy Hayes as potential left wings||09.17.15 at 2:37 pm ET|
Loui Eriksson will have a new line as he takes on life without Carl Soderberg. There’s also a good chance he’ll have a new (old) position.
A left-shot right wing, Eriksson may see quite a bit of time at left wing due to a large group of right wings that includes Eriksson, David Pastrnak, Brett Connolly and Jimmy Hayes. The same goes for Hayes, a right shot who can play left wing.
Both Eriksson and Hayes have experience playing the left side, though both are years removed from doing it. Eriksson was used at left wing during his time with the Stars, while Hayes played left wing a couple years back in Chicago.
Don Sweeney said Thursday that the team will experiment with both players in training camp as it tries to find line combinations.
“We’re excited with Loui having the versatility that he does to play both positions,” Sweeney said. ‘Clearly, the production was back for him last year. We need to have that with him, so we need to put him in situations with other guys, and we’re going to play around with the combination piece of that. I think Jimmy Hayes will probably play both sides. We’re going to experiment a little bit with guys at different positions.”
It’s likely at least one of Eriksson or Hayes will be a left wing this season. There’s something of a dropoff at the position after Brad Marchand and Matt Beleskey, though center Chris Kelly could play there if he doesn’t center the fourth line.
|Report: Bruins shopping Dennis Seidenberg, Loui Eriksson||02.18.15 at 8:25 am ET|
Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reported Tuesday night that the Bruins are considering trading defenseman Dennis Seidenberg and right wing Loui Eriksson prior to the March 2 trade deadline, but a source with knowledge of the situation told WEEI.com Wednesday that the B’s haven’t talked to either player about potentially waiving their no-trade clauses.
“Nothing but rumors,” the source said of Kypreos’ report.
Kypreos said the motivation behind trading both players is to free up cap space for a potential addition this season or to have more space in the offseason when they have to re-sign a number of players.
“They still want to add a depth forward, a guy that can give them a bit of a presence, so what does that mean? They’ve got to still move some salary out and the name I’m hearing now is Dennis Seidenberg,” Kypreos said. “He’s been a great guy for them the last few years, really solidified himself there with Chara the last few years as a pair, but he still has $12 million to go on a contract, and he’s not that well. Something’s got to give, maybe they’ve got to move him out before they can move someone else.”
Kypreos went on to say that Eriksson’s name is “out there” in trade discussions as well.
Seidenberg, 33, is in the first year of a four-year, $16 million deal, while the 29-year-old Eriksson is signed through next season at a $4.25 million cap hit.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|5 things we learned as Bruins suffer regulation loss to Rangers||02.04.15 at 10:30 pm ET|
A rough second period cost the Bruins Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, as they relinquished a lead en route to a 3-2 loss to the Rangers.
The defeat was just the Bruins’ second regulation loss in the last 15 games, but there could be more ahead with a difficult back-to-back stretch coming up when the B’s host the Islanders and Canadiens this weekend at TD Garden.
Tuukka Rask started his ninth consecutive game and had to deal with multiple odd-man rushes from the Rangers. The Bruins blew a bit of an opportunity, as Henrik Lundqvist missed the game with an upper-body injury. Cam Talbot only had to face 20 shots, however, and he stopped 18.
The one positive as the Bruins await the Islanders and Habs — both teams are currently riding losing streaks. The Islanders have dropped three straight while the Canadiens are coming off back-to-back losses.
Here are four more things we learned Wednesday:
The last thing a team wants to do against a fast opponent is let players slip past them. That happened all too often as the Bruins tried to slow the speedy Rangers.
After Brad Marchand failed to get the puck in deep and turned it over to Kevin Klein, Rick Nash took a feed from Martin St. Louis and sprinted past Adam McQuaid, walking in on Rask all alone and backhanding his 32nd goal of the season past the Boston netminder.
Later in the period, Chris Kreider got behind Torey Krug and Kevan Miller, but was denied by Rask. The Bruins had to deal with another odd-man rush when Kevin Hayes got the puck out of the defensive zone and over Krug’s stick, racing to the puck in the neutral zone to create a 2-on-1 with Carl Hagelin against Miller. The Bruins survived it, as Hayes’ pass for Hagelin in front was stopped by Rask.
BRUINS HAVE SECOND-PAIR BLUES
Among the Bruins’ needs prior to the trade deadline is a steady top-four defenseman to solidify their second pairing. Assuming the pairs stay the same, Boston’s current second pairing of Seidenberg-McQuaid might not fare as well as the Ference-Boychuk postseason pair of years past.
The Seidenberg-McQuaid pair was split up late in the first period (the duo allowed the Nash goal), with Claude Julien going to Chara-McQuaid and Seidenberg-Hamilton. Julien went back to his normal pairings for the second period, only to see Seidenberg and McQuaid allow their second goal of the game when Derick Brassard scored on a snap shot from the high slot.
Though McQuaid made a nice play to get a stick on a Rangers scoring bid in the third that would have made it a two-goal game, both he and Seidenberg finished the night with rough numbers. McQuaid and Seidenberg finished the game with Corsi’s of minus-14 and minus-13, respectively.
|Loui Eriksson practices, questionable for Saturday vs. Flyers||01.09.15 at 1:24 pm ET|
Loui Eriksson is questionable for Saturday’s game against the Flyers after participating in Friday’s practice.
Eriksson, who appeared to suffer a right hand/wrist injury on a slash from Penguins defenseman Robert Bortuzzo Wednesday in Pittsburgh, skated before practice Friday but was very light in his shooting. After the practice, Claude Julien said that Eriksson is still dealing with swelling that will need to subside before he plays.
The lines in practice remained the same as they were in Thursday’s win over the Devils:
Marchand – Krejci – Pastrnak
Lucic - Bergeron – Paille
Kelly – Soderberg – Smith
Caron - Campbell – Cunningham
Chara – Hamilton
Seidenberg – McQuaid
Krug – Miller
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Loui Eriksson out with injury, David Pastrnak returns to lineup for Bruins||01.08.15 at 6:08 pm ET|
Bruins right wing Loui Eriksson will miss Thursday’s game with an apparent right hand/wrist injury suffered on a second-period slash from Robert Bortuzzo Wednesday.
Eriksson returned for a shift and missed the rest of the second period after the play before returning for the start of the third. He did not play the second half of the third period and missed all of overtime. Claude Julien said the injury is not expected to keep Eriksson out for long.
Eriksson’s absence leaves the Bruins with just five players who will have played in all 42 games of the season as of Wednesday: Dougie Hamilton, Carl Soderberg, Dennis Seidenberg, Reilly Smith and Daniel Paille.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.