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Eriksson's hat trick lifts Bruins past Wild

by Matt Kalman

BOSTON -- Loui Eriksson's third career hat trick helped the Boston Bruins to a 4-2 win against the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden on Thursday.

Eriksson scored twice in the second period and once in the third period. It was his first hat trick since Dec. 31, 2009, with the Dallas Stars against the Anaheim Ducks.

"It's definitely nice to get that," Eriksson said. "Like I said, it's been a while since I had one, so it was definitely nice to get the hat trick and of course to win the game, that's the most important thing. So that was definitely nice."

Center David Krejci had two assists, and goaltender Jonas Gustavsson made 24 saves for the Bruins (9-8-1), who improved to 2-2-0 on their five-game homestand and defeated the Wild for the second time in nine games all-time here.

The Bruins needed a bounce-back win after they surrendered two one-goal leads in a 5-4 loss here to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

"It was better tonight. I think all the things we talked about were better," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We know we can score goals. I think it's about keeping them out of our own net, and our penalty kill was good tonight, and our defensive play was good as well. We did a good job of collapsing and taking away some of those opportunities, and our [defensemen] did a great job of blocking shots when they had to."

The Wild (10-5-3) went 1-2-1 on their four-game road trip after opening with a win. They played without defensemen Jonas Brodin (illness) and Marco Scandella (lower body), who was placed on injured reserve Thursday.

"It's tough, but there's no excuse," Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. "We've still got players that are capable and I give a lot of our guys credit tonight. I mean, we did battle. We don't always make it easy on ourselves, but we had a lot of guys that were sick playing in the game, and you know, I give us credit for the work, but we're not in the business of looking for consolation points here. We've got to find a way to win hockey games and so we've got to get ready for the next game now."

Wild forward Jason Zucker had to be helped off the ice and was not putting any weight on his left leg at the end of the game after he was slashed by Bruins forward Matt Beleskey. Yeo had no update on Zucker.

Forward Brad Marchand scored the only goal of the first period. He stole Wild defenseman Matt Dumba's outlet pass up the left wall and set up Brett Connolly for a shot from the left hash mark. Dubnyk made the save, but Marchand tracked the rebound behind the net and came out near the right post for a flip-in that put Boston ahead 1-0 at 5:30.

The Wild killed off two minor penalties, including 1:15 of a 5-on-3, early in the second period. Goalie Devan Dubnyk made seven of his 34 saves during the kills.

Minnesota evened the score 1-1 when Zucker beat Gustavsson with a wrist shot off a rebound at 5:12 of the second period.

Eriksson scored the next two goals. He banked one in from the bottom of the left circle off Wild forward Jason Pominville's skate for a 2-1 lead at 7:37. Then he scored on a power play on his own rebound from the right side of the slot for a 3-1 lead at 11:21.

Before the period was through, Jordan Schroeder got Minnesota back within 3-2 with a deflection of a Ryan Suter wrist shot that eluded Gustavsson at 13:37.

Eriksson scored his third goal of the game at 4:14 of the third period to put Boston ahead 4-2 with a drive to the net during a give-and-go with Krejci.

Gustavsson earned the win in his first home start with the Bruins.

"As a group, we always want to bounce back, doesn't really matter who's in the lineup," Gustavsson said. "We're all a team together. When we lose a game or two, obviously we want to come back and have a strong game. That goes for everyone, me included. So obviously we know the importance of bouncing back right away.

Bruins forward Frank Vatrano did not return after he was injured in the second period shortly after the Wild's first goal when he was checked into the end wall by defenseman Nate Prosser. Julien said Vatrano sustained an upper-body injury.

The Wild will play their next four games at home starting Saturday against the Nashville Predators. The Bruins will host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

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