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No-Quit Third Period Powers Bruins Past Oilers

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BOSTON - In a span of just two minutes and 34 seconds in the third period on Thursday night, the Bruins struck for three goals to flip their fate, and pick up their fourth straight win.

Down 2-1 to Edmonton early in the final frame at TD Garden, Loui Eriksson careened in a bouncing puck for the equalizer, before the Bruins power play went to work for two straight tallies from Carl Soderberg and Dougie Hamilton.

Hamilton added two assists and a goal in the barrage, and Milan Lucic powered in an empty-netter as the Bruins took a 5-2 win from the Oilers.

"With our team, we never quit, so there’s not going to be a lot of third periods where we’re getting out played and quitting," said Hamilton, who put up his third multi-point game of the season in less than three minutes.

"That was our strength last season and the seasons before that, it was always the Bruins' strength to win those games," said Soderberg.

The Bruins had entered the third period with the game knotted at 1-1. When they have their confidence going, especially on home ice, they put those games away.

It was something they had failed to do a week prior against Minnesota, when they dropped a four-goal third period in the loss.

"When we were struggling, we didn’t have that confidence to finish off those games and get a win," said Soderberg. "So hopefully we get more confidence and can keep winning those games in the future."

The Bruins didn't give up too many chances in the first period. Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron all opened the period with chances, but Edmonton led 1-0 in shots on goal seven minutes in.

David Krejci, back in the lineup after missing two games with an undisclosed injury he'll continue to battle at least in the short term, took a double-minor for high-sticking and Edmonton converted.

From up top in the press box, it looked as if Hamilton had saved a goal, swiping the puck away from the goal line, but video review confirmed it was a good goal by Boyd Gordon on the power play to put the Oilers up 1-0.

Reilly Smith tied it up 1-1 just four minutes later, as Marchand hit him down the right side off the rush. Smith held the puck, thinking about hitting Patrice Bergeron with a pass in the slot, before firing one past Ben Scrivens high glove side.

Adam McQuaid had started the play, angling off Edmonton's Matt Hendricks along the boards, before David Warsofsky sent an outlet pass up to Marchand

Of the seven games this season the Bruins have allowed the first goal, they have evened the score at 1-1 in six of them.

Boston had a tougher second period, getting caught flat-footed, but Head Coach Claude Julien thought they managed their defensive zone better amidst Edmonton's strong push. Tuukka Rask, who stopped 24 of 26 shots in the win, was there to bottle up the saves when he needed to.

"We talked about it in the dressing room - it wasn’t the period we wanted to have in the second and I think we did a good job adjusting in the third," said Smith.

The Bruins came out fairly well, but a clear by Rask bounced off the wall and he was backing up into the net as an Oiler pounced on it and fired. He stopped the initial attempt but the rebound jutted right out to Mark Arcobello.

"It wasn’t an awful rebound, but still, in a perfect world I would have liked to clear that puck out of the zone, you know, the play would be over," said Rask. "But that happens, mistakes happen, and when I do one it’s going to end up costing us a goal, but good thing we battled back."

Julien thought the goal caught the team's attention.

With just under 12 minutes to go in the third, a quick whistle was blown just before Krejci potted a loose puck around Scrivens. It was the second non-goal from the Bruins of the night, as Seth Griffith encountered a similar situation in the second period on the power play.

But it was just a matter of time for the Black and Gold to find a way through in the third.

"It was kind of a ticking time bomb and finally it ended up going in late in the third," said Smith. "That was the mentality heading into the third period: we have a couple days off after this, so there's nothing to save it for."

Eriksson's game-tying goal came at 11:04 into the third, off a broken play entering the zone with Hamilton and Soderberg picking up the assists. Chris Kelly was also crashing the net on the goal.

With Krejci back in the lineup, Julien was able to move Kelly around during the night. He started the game on the fourth line with Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille, before playing shifts back with familiar linemates Soderberg and Eriksson in the third.

"[The Oilers] made it 2-1 and we just got better," said Julien. "Our guys were determined to get themselves back in the game and we moved the puck well and a couple of nice plays from some of our key players that allowed us to get those goals."

Just a minute and a half after Eriksson's equalizer, Bergeron skated into the zone on the counter-attack during the man advantage, and while falling, hit Soderberg with a pass in the slot for the go-ahead.

Bergeron had been tripped up on the play, drawing another power play chance for Boston.

A give-and-go with Hamilton and Eriksson ended with Hamilton firing it past Scrivens' skate with Soderberg planted in front.

"It’s nice to see your power play win your some games when you really need it," said Julien. "We had some tough - obviously with some whistles tonight and a couple of goals that were disallowed because of that and that’s just the name of the game…So when you’re going through a little bit of tough luck like that, it’s nice to see that your guys don’t stray away from their game."

"If anything, I thought we picked up our game and got ourselves back into it."

"Those games aren’t always perfect but you like the way your team responds to different situations," Julien added. "Instead of panicking, we just picked up our game and put our foot on the gas pedal and found a way to get some goals."

The Bruins now have three days without a game before hosting the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden on Monday night to finish off a four-game homestand that has already seen them win three straight.

"It definitely doesn’t feel like our best hockey and I think when we’re playing our best it’s pretty easy hockey and we’re grinding them down," said Hamilton. "All four lines are rolling in their end, and I think lately it’s just been kind of spurts of that."

"I really feel there’s still a lot from our team that can get better," Julien said. "And I mean a lot, like we still have those waves, you talk about the second period. As we get along here, I’d like to see our team become a little bit more consistent."

"I still feel that there’s a lot more untapped potential with our team as a whole, so that’s a work in progress right now."

Still, the Bruins are happy to be grinding out wins and getting the results.

"It's been fun that we’re winning and playing better, so [it's] not as grumpy of a mood in the locker room," Hamilton smiled. "And we still have to improve, so we've just to keep going this month."

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