BUFFALO, NY - About six minutes into the third period of the Bruins 5-2 win in Buffalo, Loui Eriksson was hit by John Scott near center ice. He didn't appear to see it coming, and the winger was slow to get up.
Eriksson went down the tunnel, after being helped off the ice by Dennis Seidenberg and Chris Kelly. He didn't return to the game.
Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli issued an update following the game that "Loui is staying over night in Buffalo for precautionary reasons. He is expected to return to Boston on Thursday."
The Bruins face the San Jose Sharks at home Thursday night in the second game of their back-to-back.
Boston powered to a 5-2 win, thanks to two goals apiece from Milan Lucic and Torey Krug, along with a score from Dougie Hamilton, that gave them their third straight victory. But the mood postgame wasn't quite that of a win.
Head Coach Claude Julien and the Bruins were mostly concerned with Eriksson's condition.
"Obviously if he didn’t come back, it’s serious enough," Julien said postgame.
When reporters pressed him about the hit, he responded, "Hey, the referees called it the way I guess everybody saw it. So it’s unfortunate but the guy who hit him did his job tonight; he’s out there for two reasons – that’s either to fight or hurt. He did his job tonight."
After Eriksson was hit, Adam McQuaid immediately dropped the gloves with the 6-foot-8 Scott in the corner. It was a quick bout, but it wasn't the length of the fight that mattered.
"Well I was on the ice, but I was kind of behind the play so I kind of saw what happened but I haven’t got to see it since. But it’s just a reaction on a play like that," said McQuaid.
"You just don’t want to see guys get hit like that. See how he was kind of trying to get up afterwards, it’s hard to watch that, and you want to make sure that you’re there to support one another and stick up for one another."
"It’s tough to see those and Quaider did a great job jumping in there," Jarome Iginla said postgame.
"Scott’s obviously a tough guy, but so is Quaider. The game at that point is still on the line and fortunately we were able to get a power play goal and seal it there. You hate to see that happen but you hope he’s alright and ready to go."
The Bruins responded with a power-play goal from Torey Krug on the ensuing three-minute man advantage after Scott was given a five-minute major for a head shot (as announced in-arena, though the stat sheet labels it as "charging"). McQuaid's minor for instigating accounted for the other two minutes.
"I think guys probably want, like you said, to react in the right way and we were able to do that," said McQuaid. "It’s nice in those situations to come back and score and continue to play well."
"We needed to score on that and we did, so that was a big goal for us," said Julien of the B's pulling away for a 5-2 lead at that point in the third period. "We kept playing our game right until the end."
"We have some important things here going into [Thursday against San Jose] so we have to focus on that and we had to finish the job here."
Eriksson knocked on Ryan Miller's door all night, but was unable to get one past the goaltender. Developing chemistry with Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith, the winger has been looking forward to their progression.
"Yeah it feels good. I think the last two games we’ve been creating a lot of chances and we’ve been scoring some goals too and it feels good," the soft-spoken Eriksson said prior to the matchup with Buffalo.
"I think everyone is feeling good about themselves and if we keep building on the things we’re doing good, I think we’ll be better."
With both teams and fanbases are often positioned on opposite sides of the spectrum after hits like the one on Eriksson, there's obviously a strong feeling from Coach and the B's locker room on the matter, hoping that their teammate is alright.
When Julien was asked by a reporter if the hit reminded him of Marc Savard, the bench boss couldn't deny the flashback, but was cautious to compare.
"Pretty close, but again, they’re going to be looked at; I’m not going to say much more than that," he said. "Obviously it’s disappointing that a key player gets hurt and I know there’s history here but that’s a guy who plays about two to three minutes a game and targets one of your best players."
"But it’s going to be something that I’m sure people are going to kind of try and use as another example. I’m not sure that Lucic is necessarily a three minute guy but whatever; it is what it is and it’s unfortunate."
Scott has an impending in-person hearing with the NHL for the hit to the head on Eriksson, as reported by TSN's Bob McKenzie, with date and time yet to be set.