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Eriksson's OT goal lifts Bruins past Wild

by Dan Myers

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- In a game of lucky bounces Wednesday against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center, the Boston Bruins finally got the breaks they needed.

The Wild hit three posts and held a heavy shot advantage, but the Bruins did enough to pull out a win thanks to Loui Eriksson's goal 1:30 into overtime, lifting the Bruins to a 3-2 victory.

Bruins forward Carl Soderberg gained control of the puck behind the net and skated to goaltender Niklas Backstrom's glove side. He fired a cross-crease pass to a crashing Eriksson for his sixth goal of the season, snapping a three-game losing streak for the Bruins in the process.

"It was nice to see it go in and get the two points," Eriksson said. "[It] was a great play there by Carl to find me in front there."

The result came in contrast to Boston's effort Tuesday, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Nashville Predators, which coach Claude Julien thought the Bruins deserved better than the one point they got.

But the Bruins received a terrific performance from backup goaltender Niklas Svedberg and enough puck luck to get the extra point in overtime.

"It's time we got a break," Julien said. "People that have watched us, I'm sure they said, 'Finally, some things are going our way.' We'll take the breaks when they go our way."

Svedberg made 35 saves, including 20 in the second period, and improved to 4-4-0 this season.

"It's kind of nice to see a lot of shots, it gets you in the game," Svedberg said.

The Bruins and Wild scored goals 27 seconds apart in the early portion of the first period.

Boston scored first when Soderberg gained control of a loose puck off a scramble in front of Backstrom, who was scrambling out of position. Soderberg blasted a shot toward an open net that was blocked by a defenseman, but the rebound came right back to him and his second chance went in for his sixth.

Minnesota's fourth line evened the score on the next shift. Kyle Brodziak toe-dragged around one player, creating space at the left faceoff circle. He put a shot over Svedberg's blocker for his fourth goal to make it 1-1.

Boston's most fortunate bounce of the night came in the final minutes of the first period. The Bruins regained the lead when Patrice Bergeron's shot took a funky hop near the top of the crease. The puck was headed wide of the goal, but changed directions when it hit the ice and snuck under Backstrom's right armpit and in.

"On that bounce it went back towards the net," Bergeron said. "I got hit, so I didn't even see what happened, but I saw the puck in the back of the net. I'm not gonna complain."

"It [stinks] for sure, it feels stupid to let in a goal like that," Backstrom said. "I think it was going to the corner then it just bounced up, changed direction and went into the net. It's not the first time that's happened, but every time you let in a goal like that it [stinks]."

The Wild gained control of the game in the second and out-shot Boston 20-5, but were unable to tie the game until the third with a fluky goal of their own with 8:21 remaining.

After an initial save by Svedberg, Bruins defenseman Zach Trotman gained control of the puck in the slot. Wild defenseman Ryan Suter followed his initial shot from the point and poked the puck off Trotman's stick. The puck bounced off Jason Pominville and into an open net for his seventh goal of the season.

The Wild out-shot the Bruins 37-22 through the end of regulation. Pominville, Mikael Granlund and Jared Spurgeon each had near misses and Minnesota connected with the goal post once in each period.

"We did a lot of good things in the second; we moved the puck well, we skated well," Wild forward Zach Parise said. "We just couldn't find one."

The Bruins dominated overtime, scoring on their third shot of the extra session. Minnesota was barely able to even control the puck prior to the goal.

"It was nice to see our team in overtime try and take charge and find a way to win a hockey game by showing some real good determination," Julien said.

"A disappointing end to an otherwise pretty strong game," Wild coach Mike Yeo said.

Boston's good fortune began earlier in the day when center David Krejci took part in the morning skate and made his return against the Wild. He hadn't played since Nov. 18 because of a groin injury. Krejci had one shot on goal and a minus-1 rating in 18:22 of ice time.

"For his first game back, I thought he handled himself well," Julien said. "He managed the puck well. He's a confident player, made some good plays and I thought he had a good first night."

Despite feeling a bit under the weather, Backstrom started for the second time in as many days and made 22 saves.

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