COLUMBUS, Ohio – Loui Eriksson’s game-winning goal didn’t earn any style points, at least in his eyes.
The rest of the Boston Bruins thought it looked just fine.
Eriksson scored from a hard angle in the opening minute of the third period, a goal he said “wasn’t the prettiest one.”
His first goal with Boston helped the Bruins to a 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.
“I think he only scores nice goals,” said Tuukka Rask, who made 26 saves including a few sterling ones late to preserve a one-goal lead. “I mean, it was an unbelievable goal. He does that in practice all the time, too.”
Bruins centre Brad Marchand rated it a masterpiece.
“It’s great to see him get one there,” he said. “It was a beautiful goal. That gets the monkey off his back.”
Eriksson, acquired last summer in the big trade that sent Tyler Seguin to Dallas, had scored his first 150 goals for the Stars. He came in scoreless in three games for the Bruins.
He said he hadn’t reached the point of pressing for goals yet.
“I’ve had some slow starts in other years,” he said. “It’ll come. If you create chances out there, it’ll come. We did that today, and I was able to get one.”
Boston, which trailed and was shut out until late in the second period, took the lead for good on Eriksson’s breakthrough goal.
On a rush, Patrice Bergeron found Eriksson with a nifty cross-ice pass. From the right side of the goal line, Eriksson tucked a high shot just inside the near post over goalie Sergei Bobrovsky’s left shoulder 49 seconds into the third.
Bruins coach Claude Julien wasn’t worried about Eriksson, a veteran of eight NHL seasons.
“He was really good,” Julien said. “(He made) smart plays, (was) competing better, stuff like that. That’s what we talked about with him. You’ve got to give guys some time to get adjusted, to get acquainted and feeling comfortable. You see a guy like him after a few games finding his stride.”
Playing their first road game, the Bruins also got a goal from Chris Kelly, and an empty-net tally from Milan Lucic.
Rask wasn’t peppered with shots but came up big when most needed. He blocked Marian Gaborik’s tying attempt in the closing moments and then flicked the puck aside with his glove.
“We gave up a couple of rushes, which is not the greatest thing when there’s five minutes left and you’re leading by one,” Rask said. “But we took care of business. Maybe we just need to clean up the neutral zone a little better.”
Jack Johnson scored on a first-period power play for the Blue Jackets, who won their last two on the road but are now 0-2 at home.
Bobrovsky, last season’s Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL’s top goalie, stopped 33 shots.
Boston almost tied it 1-1 when Daniel Paille took a chip pass and was all alone for a short-handed breakaway in the second period, but his shot was wide of the net.
An instant after that penalty was killed, the Bruins got even. Iginla dropped a pass to Kelly for a hard slap shot from just inside the blue line that eluded Bobrovsky low on the glove side with 3:42 remaining in the second for his second goal of the season.
In the first, with a man advantage, the Blue Jackets’ James Wisniewski faked a shot from the left point and then slid a pass to Johnson at the top of the right circle. Johnson’s one-timer beat Rask to the glove side with 1:08 remaining in the period.
Columbus coach Todd Richards said he saw signs that the Bruins were asserting themselves midway through the game.
“In the second period, even though we had a 1-0 lead, they started to take over the game a little bit,” he said. “They stuck with their game and how they play and with the things they do well. We got away from (our game). We played hard, but there were some areas that they were better than us.”
NOTES: Julien coached in his 700th NHL game (378-233-10-79). … The Blue Jackets recalled C Ryan Craig from AHL Syracuse before the game and then scratched him. … Both teams will face Detroit in their next game. The Bruins will host the Red Wings on Monday, and the Blue Jackets will play at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday. … Columbus F Nick Foligno played in his 400th NHL game. … The meeting was the first of three between the teams this season—the only one in Columbus. … The Blue Jackets were without LW Matt Calvert (lower body) and lost LW Blake Comeau (lower body) in the second period. … Boston’s Johnny Boychuk left after blocking a shot in the third period, but he returned.
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