Powering down the left side, he nearly hit Loui Eriksson at the goal mouth to put the Bruins up 2-0.
It was a routine drive for Soderberg towards the goal. And it showed no rust for the winger in his 2013-14 debut, even after sitting out the first six games of the season with an ankle injury that he sustained in the third period of the final preseason game back on September 27.
"I'm just happy to be back," said the Sweden native, after playing in just the seventh NHL regular season game of his career. "It's really hard to stay out, actually, and now being back again. We played a really great game, probably one of the best this season, and I'm happy about the win."
He played the night on the third line with Chris Kelly and Brad Marchand (Jordan Caron was the healthy scratch).
Late in the second period, they added to the Bruins' four-line, complete team effort with Kelly's tally off the cycle, assisted by Soderberg and Marchand.
It marked Soderberg's third NHL assist.
The "no rust" factor wasn't necessarily a surprise, given the work he's been putting in with Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides and the B's staff to be ready for game action. If anything, it spoke to the low-key winger's work ethic.
His play appeared to carry over directly from his strong training camp and preseason.
"I've just been out for two and a half weeks, that's not much at all. I worked hard with John Whitesides so I'm in good shape and kept the shape I had in the preseason," said Soderberg.
His ease into the game was reminiscent of when he was called upon in the postseason, playing Games 5 and 6 of the Stanley Cup Final in June, after having not suited up in the spoked-B for two months.
With his skating and strength not taking a step back, now it's just about getting the timing back, and building chemistry.
"That’s the only thing that I would say about his game, maybe his touch was a little bit off and that’s from not playing," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following the win.
"But certainly the pace of his game, the skating and everything, seemed really good and he had some opportunities too – some two-on-ones. And a little bit like Smitty [Reilly Smith], sometimes you have to be a little bit more selfish and instead of forcing that pass, shoot."
"But other than that I was really pleased with his game for a guy that’s been out for this long."
McQuaid Makes Presence Felt
Adam McQuaid was back in the lineup on Saturday night against Tampa Bay, after being a healthy scratch against the Panthers on Thursday, and certainly made his mark, offensively and on the physical side, engaging in a bout with Nate Thompson after a collision into the boards.
With Julien's seven defensemen rotation decisions not being necessarily performance-based and a product of not letting any blueliner sit too long, Matt Bartkowski was the healthy scratch.
"He’s a veteran, I know it’s a little tougher for veterans, but we got some good young players and we can’t just go and pull those guys out because you’re going to be pulling the same guys out all the time," Julien had said of his decision to have McQuaid sit out in Sunrise.
The stay-at-home defenseman decided he'd make an offensive impact back in game action, firing in his first goal of the season to put the Bruins up 2-0 over the Lightning in the first period of the eventual 5-0 win.
"There’s no doubt he was good tonight. I really liked his game and he responded well and that’s what you want," said Julien. "Guys don’t want to sit and watch and although we've got extra bodies, it’s happening."
"So you like to see the response that you got from him tonight and Dougie the other night as well."
Hamilton also scored in his first game back in from being a healthy scratch, notching a power-play goal against the Panthers.
"It just keeps everybody going and as long as they have the right attitude, they come back and play even better."
Like the rest of the D, McQuaid understands the process.
"I think everybody wants to play and when you are playing you want to be at your best and if you’re not, you feel like you play with the right attitude and stay positive and be supportive of your teammates," he said.
"And make sure that you’re working hard and when you get the next chance to get in the lineup, that you’re ready to go."
Patrice Bergeron's night saw him earn his second goal of the season. He fired six shots on net, and another four that were blocked, ended the game at +1 and recorded the most shifts of any skater on the ice (30), leading all forwards with 20:25 in ice time. The centerman also recorded two takeaways and won 52-percent of his draws.
"I think you could say that [it was his best game] because I really liked his game tonight," said Julien. "When you look at him with his linemates now, they’re finding each other a little bit more and spending some time in the offensive zone and controlling the puck more than they have."
"So that’s the chemistry that we were hoping to see as we played more games."
The win over the Lightning marked the third game that the trio of Bergeron, Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith had played together. The line combined for Bergeron's tic-tac-toe tally.
"I think we’ve all played solid and I think it helps everyone when we do that, so I’ve been feeling good in Florida and I think tonight again I felt pretty good. So it was a great play by Smitty, but I think we generated a lot of plays by playing solid defense."
Krejci: Iggy will get his 30 goals
Jarome Iginla is still pining for this first as a Bruin. Experience shows, that once the winger gets going, he get's going.
He had chances again against Tampa Bay, provided the screen on McQuaid's goal and dropped the gloves. Besides still searching for the back of the net, he's made an impact all over the ice.
"Oh, I don’t really feel for him and I’ll tell you why – because I think he’s playing really well and I know that he’s going to score eventually," said Julien. "When I look at his game I see him, everything he does, he wins battles, he’s strong along the walls, he’s in the right places to get those scoring chances; I think it’s just a matter of time."
"So he’s been around for so long, I don’t think he’s frustrated, I think he knows and we all know that once he starts scoring they’re going to come in bunches."
"I feel like we’ve been playing pretty good hockey the last few games. So it’s coming. It’s just about to get the first one and get the monkey off your back," said David Krejci, who potted his first of the season against Tampa Bay off the rush, with assists from Milan Lucic and Iginla.
"And I believe once Iggy’s going to get it, he’s going to be putting the puck in the net more often and he’ll get his 30 goals this year."
No Bruins' style win is complete without a little extra punch.
Gregory Campbell and B.J. Crombeen danced in the first for 'Soupy's' first bout of the season, before Adam McQuaid and Nate Thompson took liberties on each other, and we saw a Jarome Iginla vs. Radko Gudas rematch from the home opener in Boston.
The Lighter Side
Shawn Thornton put an exclamation mark on the Bruins' four-line effort in the 5-0 win over the Lightning just 34 seconds into the third period, snapping in his first goal of 2013-14, to get the Merlot Line on the board.
"Great job by Piesy [Daniel Paille] off the draw, helping Soup [Gregory Campbell] out there and good job by him driving, it kind of opened up that lane for me to be able to shoot," said Thornton.
"I wanted to pass but I saw the goalie was cheating a little bit so I just shot it, kind of just closed my eyes and it went in."
So, how long will the Bruins be hearing about their fourth liner's mitts?
"Hopefully not too long because there is a tendency to listen to him for a long, long time," an easy-going Julien joked postgame from Tampa.
"There was that infamous one-legged shot, so we reminded him of that on the bench."
"But give him credit; it was a nice shot. Style might have been questionable, but the shot itself was good."
A "Let's Go Red Sox!" cheer broke out at the Tampa Bay Times Forum once the Bruins had gathered near Tuukka Rask to celebrate the 5-0 victory over the Lightning on Saturday night.
On the team plane heading home to Boston from Florida, cheers broke out from the Bruins after the Shane Victorino grand slam, and then another round after the final out that sent the Red Sox into the World Series.
The video feeds the B's were tuned into on the plane may have been a few minutes behind, but that didn't change the outcome. #GetBeard!