November 26, 2013

Eriksson's three-point performance pushes B's past Pens

By Jesse Connolly

Loui Eriksson scored a breakaway goal in the opening minutes of Monday's game against the Penguins. (Photo: Sharon Bradley/New England Hockey Journal)

Final: Boston 4, Pittsburgh 3 (OT)

Recap: With two goal in the span of 3:16 (insert terrible Steve Austin joke here), the Bruins took a 2-0 lead in the first period, despite the Penguins holding a 10-5 edge in shots at that juncture. Loui Eriksson tucked a highlight-reel backhander past Marc-Andre Fleury, and Reilly Smith buried a Carl Soderberg feed on the man advantage for his fifth goal of the season.

In the second, Pittsburgh cut the lead to one and then evened things up midway through the third, both times thanks to pure snipes by James Neal, who's been on an absolute tear since returning from injury. 

Boston went back on top with a goal from Zdeno Chara, but Sidney Crosby deflected a shot by Chris Kunitz past Tuukka Rask with under a second left in regulation. The B's, as they did on Saturday against Carolina, snagged the extra point in OT, this time with Torey Krug netting the game-winner.

Records: Boston 16-6-2, 34 points: Pittsburgh 15-9-1, 31 points

Key Play of the Game: On Krug's overtime tally, Crosby made the mistake of overplaying the pass from Marchand. He got out of position, enabling No. 47 to walk right in and roof the puck home.

Connolly's Commendations: First round of applause goes directly to myself, as the Tale of the Tape quite clearly accurately projected a super game for Mr. Eriksson. All kidding aside, No. 21 built on some stellar numbers in his career against Pittsburgh and now sits at 5-5-10 totals in just eight contests, having finished the evening with a goal and two assists.

Soderberg and Smith are still on fire, as the two continued to lead the second power-play unit to glory, connecting on a first-period strike on the man advantage. Given the inconsistent production provided by the first line (which comprises the top PP unit), the B's are getting points from this duo at just the right time. 

Connolly's Critiques: David Krejci may have picked up the primary assist on Chara's goal, but Boston's No. 1 center was awfully quiet tonight. In addition to an unspectacular overall showing, he won just 35 percent of his faceoffs. 

Notes: Had the Pens not tied the game up late, it would've marked their fifth regulation loss in the last six road games, during which they've scored two goals in each of the five setbacks. ... Adam McQuaid and Dennis Seidenberg remained out of the lineup for Boston. 

Final Thoughts: Hate to be negative about a game that had an incredibly dramatic finish, but this one got mighty dull in the middle stages. The B's benefitted from Pittsburgh squandering their early chances. Otherwise, this game surely would've gone a little differently.

Next: The B's will head to Detroit to take on the Red Wings Wednesday night.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ