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Eriksson's late goal lifts Bruins past Islanders

by Matt Kalman /

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien has been doing a lot switching of his right wings in the past few games.

Although he’s moved Loui Eriksson, it seems every time Eriksson is with Chris Kelly and Carl Soderberg, something positive happens for the Bruins. The three were reunited in the third period Saturday and combined for the go-ahead goal at 12:26 of the third period in a 2-1 win against the New York Islanders at TD Garden.

"I'm going to move parts around when I feel that I need to, and then there's some chemistry there for at least a year and a half, almost two years," Julien said. "I didn't feel that we were getting a lot of offense and so I had to move some parts around. Putting them together, I felt confident that they would be able to generate some offense and they did."

Kelly picked off a pass in the neutral zone, entered the Islanders zone and took a wrist shot toward the net that Soderberg deflected toward goaltender Chad Johnson. Eriksson won a battle for the rebound in front and slid a backhand past Johnson for a 2-1 lead.

"It was just a good play by [Kelly]," Eriksson said. "He put it on the net there and we were able to, I think I got a shot first, and it was lying under my feet and I was able to throw it in. So it was nice."

The Bruins (28-17-7) have won three of four since the All-Star break. Goaltender Tuukka Rask made 39 saves, and center Patrice Bergeron scored for Boston.

"I thought we grinded it out well in the third period," Julien said. "Obviously our second period wasn't the greatest, and even our first.

"But I thought in the third period, we kind of got our game going in a better direction there and finished strong, but sometimes that's what you got to do on certain nights when not everything is clicking. At the same time you appreciate the character and resiliency of your team by fighting it through and winning this tough hockey game."

John Tavares scored and Johnson made 34 saves for the Islanders (33-18-1), who have lost four of their past five games.

"I'm really proud of the effort that we had in there tonight," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "You know we played a solid game against a good hockey team. We had some chances, but you know, we've got to find a way to score some goals here. That's the big thing right now moving forward."

New York converted on its first power play to take a 1-0 lead at 9:06 of the first period. Bruins center Gregory Campbell fanned twice on his attempts to clear the puck from in front of the Boston net. Islanders center Frans Nielsen pounced on the puck and took a shot on net before Tavares buried the rebound from the weak side. The Bruins had killed 18 straight penalties.

Boston answered on its first power play, with Bergeron scoring from the right hash mark at 13:12. His initial shot was stopped by Johnson before the rebound came to Bergeron, who converted his second opportunity to tie the game at 1-1.

In the second period, Boston killed two New York man-advantages and the Bruins failed to score on their only power play.

"We came into the locker room after two not very happy with our play and they were kind of taking it to us and we just got back to simple hockey," Bruins defenseman Torey Krug said. "When our team's playing simple we have a chance at success. The winning goal is an example of that. Soft chip to the middle and going to the net and hard work. That third period was a lot better."

The Bruins host the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday; the Islanders visit the Buffalo Sabres.

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