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Eriksson Lifts Bruins in OT

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

COLUMBUS — Just 33 seconds into overtime, Loui Eriksson tapped in his 20th of the season to lifts the Bruins to a 2-1 win over the Blue Jackets.

The victory put the Black & Gold at 3-1-0 on their six-game road trip as they jet off to Nashville.

With the game knotted at 1-1 after the first period, the Bruins would have liked to close the game out before the 3-on-3 overtime.

They were outshot 8-1 to start the third period, before finding their legs and landing the last five shots of regulation, but they found a way to get the two points.

On the first shift of extra time, David Krejci wheeled into the offensive zone and fed Torey Krug up top, who threaded a pass to Eriksson on the doorstep for the easy tap-in.

“I think you realize that you can get two points in a number of different ways — whether it’s pretty or not,” said Krug. “At the end of the day, we had a tie game heading into the third period on the road and that’s all you can ask for — go win a period, you win a game — so whether it’s pretty or not, it all ends up the same way.”

With the winner, Eriksson reached his sixth 20-goal season, playing in his 700th NHL game.

“That was an easy one,” smiled Eriksson. “It was a great play by Krech and Torey there and I was able to find the net, so it was nice.”

Eriksson now has a goal in each of his last four games, and five goals in his last six games.

“I’m finding ways to score goals and it’s always nice to have that feeling and just have to keep building on that,” said Eriksson. “I’m trying to play a little bit more in front again and it seems like the puck’s finding me and I’ll have to keep doing that.”

“He’s going to the net and when you do that, you obviously have a chance to score goals,” said Krug, who recorded his 22nd assist of the season setting up Ericsson’s goal. “He’s a skilled player that crashes the net and maybe some other guys can take a look at that and learn from it. It’s just nice that he’s on a bit of a roll her and hopefully he can continue that.”

Patrice Bergeron returned to the lineup after missing two games. At 14:28 into the first period, he made his presence felt by firing in goal No. 22 of the season to tie the game at 1-1. It came after he picked off a clearing attempt by Columbus defenseman Seth Jones.

Along with his goal, Bergeron collected three shots on goal and logged 7:24 in ice time during his first period back with the team. The center ended the night with 19:44 in ice time, recording four shots on goal and a takeaway and going 71 percent on the facoeff dot.

“After this morning — we talked about it — you know, there was always the possibility here of — is there a risk factor and if there is, how high? That’s what we had to figure out there,” Julien said of the decision made on Bergeron.

“We had to talk to the doctors after the skate,” said Bergeron, who found out in the afternoon that he was good to go. “I felt good and they just wanted to clear me.”

He was anxious to get back into the lineup.

“I wanted to play, you know, I wanted to be out there,” Bergeron said. “It was hard to miss the last two games, so I was kind of hoping they were going to let me get out there and when you’re out there, you don’t want to think about it. You know, you want to try and play your game and feel good about it.”

Adam McQuaid made his return to the Bruins’ lineup, suiting up in his first game action since sustaining his injury on Jan. 5. He had missed 18 games.

With McQuaid activated from Injured Reserve, defenseman Colin Miller was assigned to Providence.

“With Adam McQuaid, this afternoon we got the decision made that we’re going to go with him, we had to check on a couple of things and obviously we had to make some roster adjustments there,” said Julien.

McQuaid logged 14:51 in ice time, registering three hits and two blocked shots. He played most of the night alongside Krug.

“Obviously felt good to be back out there and definitely at times, felt like I had missed the amount of time that I missed, but overall, it felt good to get back out there,” said McQuaid. “The only way you can get into game shape is playing games and getting into those game situations… Definitely some rust, but good to be back in the mix and in the fold.”

“I thought he was good there for his first game in five, six weeks there and I thought he handled himself well,” said Julien. “Kept it simple, and couple of glitches here and there, like everybody else, but he actually surprised me how stable he was for his first game back.”

“I love playing with him,” said Krug. “He knows what he’s doing out there and never strays too far away from the net and he wins his battles, so I thought he did a good job, thought he was moving the puck well and that’s all you can ask for after being out for so long.”

McQuaid helped stabilize a back end that was focusing on reducing their goals against, especially after Sunday’s 6-5 loss in Detroit.

Tuukka Rask deserves the most credit for the Bruins only allowing one goal.

“Crucial, for sure,” Julien said of Rask’s play.

Rask made 28 saves on 29 shots and had to be alert, even if his teammates were taking care of the rebounds in front and keeping the Blue Jackets to the outside for the most part.

Two of the Bruins’ biggest miscues came during their power play opportunities. Rask had to pull out stops on shorthanded breakaways by both Brandon Saad and Matt Calvert.

“Those two shorthanded breakaways we give up are of our own doing, and we need to be better in those areas, but he bailed us out,” Julien said of Rask. “He was good for us, with lots of traffic — this is a team that really crashes the net a lot and I thought he handled those pucks well, loose rebound and stuff, he did a pretty good job of that.

Rask had to be extra sharp in the third period, when the Bruins were struggling to find their legs.

“You know, in the third period, you like to go out there and kind of take the game over and we didn’t,” he said. “But it doesn’t matter because we won, so that’s two points.”

Columbus struck first at 9:54 into the first period, despite being outshot by Boston, when Alexander Wennberg was awarded a penalty shot after being hooked by Zdeno Chara.

Weinberg moved in slowly and then made a quick move to his backhand, lifting is under Rask’s glove.

During the game, Krejci centered Matt Beleskey and David Pastrnak during five-on-five play. Eriksson played with Ryan Spooner and Jimmy Hayes, while Joonas Kemppainen centered Landon Ferraro and Tyler Randell. Max Talbot, Zac Rinaldo and Joe Morrow were the healthy scratches.

“It was a tough game to gauge,” said Julien. “Second period, they won too many battles to my liking. I didn’t think we were good enough… even the start of the third, scale tipped their way again and second half of the third, we kind of got ourselves going a little bit.”

“But we needed a big play there in overtime to secure that second point and we got it.”

The Bruins will next face the Predators in Nashville on Thursday night. With the win, they moved ahead of Detroit by one point in the standings.

“We’ve always used the motto ‘on to the next one,’” said Krug. “And it’s kind of a common theme, so if it’s pretty or not, we’re moving on.”

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