The Bruins won their fourth straight game Thursday with a 5-2 win over the Oilers (box), and it was the kind of win that should leave them with a pretty good taste in their mouths as they embark upon a long weekend without any game action.
Yes, they were playing the lowly Oilers (who didn’t have Taylor Hall in the lineup), but their response to falling behind early in the third period was the blow-the-doors-off kind of showing that should give them a little reminder that, as their injured defensemen continue to rehab their injuries, they can still be dominant when needed.
Dougie Hamilton had three points in 2:34, registering assists on a Loui Eriksson goal and a pair of power-play tallies from Carl Soderberg. Edmonton, meanwhile, didn’t have a shot on goal in the last 11 minutes of the game.
The win improved the B’s to 9-6-0 on the season.
Here are four other things we learned Thursday night.
KREJCI’S RETURN BRINGS SCORING CHANCES AND PENALTIES
Thursday marked David Krejci‘s return from what was believed to be a hip injury that had caused him to miss the previous two games. His return brought good opportunities for his line and a whole lot of penalty minutes.
Krejci’s line had ample opportunities over the first two periods. Seth Griffith couldn’t finish on a feed from Milan Lucic early in the first, while Lucic couldn’t get his stick on a feed in front from Griffith in the second. A bid from Krejci high in the zone with Lucic going to the net was nabbed by Scrivens later in the period.
The most controversial chance of the night came in the third period, however, as a high shot from Griffith on a 2-on-2 yielded a loose puck in the crease that Krejci whacked into the net, but the play was blown dead because the officials couldn’t see the puck. Lucic would pick up an empty netter in the final seconds of the game.
Though Krejci’s line had some offensive looks, the veteran center racked up more penalty minutes in the first period than he had all season entering the night. Krejci took a high-sticking double-minor at 14:34 of the first, leading to Boyd Gordon’s power play goal, and he was called for hooking Nail Yakupov at the end of the period.
The six penalty minutes in the opening 20 for Krejci surpassed the four penalty minutes he had in his first nine games of the season combined.
FRASER STICKS IN LINEUP, HAS A WEIRD NIGHT
With Krejci returning to the lineup, the Bruins had an interesting choice of what to do with a few of their forwards.
That began with where to put Chris Kelly, who had played in place of Krejci with Milan Lucic and Seth Griffith the previous two games. The team opted to put Kelly on the fourth line and scratch Simon Gagne, leaving Fraser in Kelly’s old spot on Carl Soderberg’s line with Loui Eriksson. Kelly was put back on the line in place of Fraser after the trio gave up a Mark Arcobello in the third period.
The lineup to begin the game was follows:
Lucic – Krejci – Griffith
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Fraser – Soderberg – Eriksson
Kelly – Campbell – Paille
Seidenberg – Hamilton
Morrow – McQuaid
Warsofsky – Trotman
Though Fraser got to stick in the lineup, he didn’t get to play much in a night that had lots of special teams early on. Fraser is not on either of the power play or penalty kill units, so he was limited to just three shifts in the first period. He got five shifts in the second period and was unable to contest the puck that Arcobello blasted past Rask early in the third period.
SWEDES TAKE OVER THIRD PERIOD
Loui Eriksson hadn’t scored in eight games, but that finally changed in the third period Thursday when he got off the bench, raced to a loose puck in front and tied the game with his third goal of the season. Minutes later, Carl Soderberg gave the Bruins the lead on a power play goal and added to it with a second power play tally.
Though the numbers haven’t always shown it, Eriksson and Soderberg have been two of Boston’s more consistent forwards this season. With David Krejci being in and out of the lineup and Patrice Bergeron‘s line struggling at points, the B’s have gotten much-needed stability from both Eriksson and Soderberg.
SMITH CASHES IN
By the looks of Smith’s first period, Thursday’s game seemed as though it could have been a snake-bitten affair. He rang iron earlier in the period and was later offsides as he took a long pass just before the blue line from David Warsofsky that would have set up a 1-on-1 scoring chance.
Smith’s talent won out over his luck, however, as he took a pass on his backhand from Marchand late in the period, walked up on Nikita Nikitin and ripped a shot past Scrivins glove side.
The goal was Smith’s third of the season and first since Oct. 15. The 23-year-old now has points in three of his last four games (one goal, two assists).
Smith had another chance in the third period off a rebound of a Brad Marchand wraparound attempt but couldn’t get enough on it.