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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Loui Eriksson of All People Might Have Just Saved Boston's Season With OT Goal at Minnesota

To say that the Bruins and their fans were frustrated with their recent slide (losing 6 out of 7) might be the understatement of the year. Facing the second night of a back-to-back on the road, something which has crushed them all season (0-5), the Bruins (16-13-3) went to overtime for the third straight game but in this instance they pulled out a 3-2 win at Xcel Energy Center vs. the Wild (16-12-2). Loui Eriksson did the honors of the overtime game-winner, the seventh of his career and undoubtedly the biggest for him as a Bruin.

If the B's turn things around and make something of this campaign, there is no question that tonight will be a game we look back on fondly. Boston honestly had no business winning it as Minnesota outshot them 37-25 for the game including 20-5 in the second period. Niklas Svedberg (35 saves) was phenomenal, he kept the Bruins in it the whole way and was able to steal that extra point that eluded them in shootout losses to Ottawa and Nashville.

David Krejci's return to the lineup obviously helped Boston as everyone was slotted back into their rightful spot. It was a busy first period as Carl Soderberg opened the scoring with his first goal since November 10. Soderberg's sixth goal of the season came after a rebound and pretty one-handed pass by Eriksson. Chris Kelly had the second assist for the Bruins.

27 seconds later, Minnesota's fourth line cashed in a good chance by Kyle Brodziak who had stickhandled by a couple Bruins then ripped a shot top shelf on Svedberg. Boston was able to benefit from a lucky bounce (for once) as Patrice Bergeron's seemingly harmless long shot bounced off the ice and in the net around Niklas Backstrom (22 saves) at 17:55. It was Bergeron's sixth goal of the season and it was assisted by Brad Marchand and Zach Trotman. Other than empty-netters, Bergy won't tally an easier (or stranger) goal in 2014-15.

The invisible force field that automatically covers Boston's opponent's net right after they score two goals was in full effect tonight. So it was inevitable when former Sabres great Jason Pominville tied it at two with 8:21 left in regulation. If Bergeron's goal was a fluke (and it was), then this effort was a complete gift because hey, it's the holiday season. Trotman's clearing attempt deflected off Pominville and into the net.

Thankfully, the B's didn't let that ruin their night as they came out strong in overtime (outshooting the Wild 4-0) and were rewarded at 1:30 with Eriksson's sixth goal of the season. Soderberg and Zdeno Chara had the assists as the former put it on a platter for his fellow Swede and linemate to tap in.

With the win, Boston moved up from 10th in the Eastern Conference to seventh. Yes, it's really tight that between them, the Panthers, Rangers and Capitals. The Bruins' three-game road trip concludes on Friday (8, NESN) in Winnipeg (16-10-6). Haha does it get any better than a Friday night during the winter in Winnipeg? Seriously though, the Jets are playing well (6-1-3 in their last 10) but the B's need another two points in the worst possible way.

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