Told earlier Saturday that he would be making his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut in the pivotal game of a best-of-7 series that has been played at a furious and physical pace, Soderberg knew he would have to overcome the handicaps associated with being removed from game situations for almost two months.
"I was out for two months," said Soderberg, who last played on April 28 and had only six NHL games on his resume. "That's a long time. But it's still hockey. I know that game."
It was that attitude -- combined with the skill set the Swedish forward brings into the mix -- that convinced Boston coach Claude Julien to insert Soderberg as the fourth-line left wing, a role that had been occupied by Kaspars Daugavins for the previous five games.
"I thought we could use him, and although he had very limited experience in this League, he's still a pretty skilled player and had a good year. I thought if we were going to give him a shot, tonight was probably a good time for it."
The roster switch came in even more handy when second-line center Patrice Bergeron was injured in the second period and did not return. Bergeron was taken to a local hospital for observation, according to the club.
"He showed me enough to be able to move into Bergy's spot," Julien said. "I thought he played well, and although there wasn't maybe the chemistry that you see with that line usually because it's his first time, certainly not disappointed in the way he played tonight."
Despite the rust, Soderberg did pretty well for himself. On an early shift Saturday night, he made a steal and got off two shots. He played a bit more than 14 minutes -- the last period as the center for Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr -- and finished with those two shots and three hits.
"I played a lot in the second and third period; but unfortunately we didn't win," Soderberg said. "So now we have to win two straight games and we have to go back to Boston and play like the third period tonight. We played really great in the third period. I don't know if the first and second was that good."