Loui Eriksson Leading the Way


Dec 17, 2014; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Boston Bruins forward Loui Eriksson (21) looks to pass during the third period against Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Bruins defeated the Bruins 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday night the Bruins found themselves in overtime against the basement-dwelling Buffalo Sabres. This should not have come as a surprise to many, as four of the black and gold’s last five games have gone on to see overtime or a shootout. We all know the story, the incomplete, but high-potential Causeway Crew is barely managing to hang in games night after night, seeing their last six games decided by a single goal. While the team as a whole has been struggling, Loui Eriksson has emerged as a bright spot of hope in an otherwise dark locker room.

With David Krejci’s return to the ice, Chris Kelly was reunited with Swedish linemates Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson. While Soderberg has been a consistent contributor to the Bruins’ efforts since his arrival in 2013, Eriksson has been the more sporadic of the two after a concussion last season slowed his progress of learning how to play Bruins-style hockey. Carl Soderberg came to Boston as an unknown, playing nine seasons overseas in the Swedish league, but pleasantly surprised the Bruins seeing playoff success in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Where Soderberg came to Boston with little to no expectations or pressure, Eriksson came to Beantown with nothing but lofty expectations and high pressure.

Eriksson was the keystone piece of the Tyler Seguin trade in 2013, and came to Boston with the reputation of being a consistent, safe player. Many experts even compared Eriksson’s reliability to Patrice Bergeron. He failed to meet these expectations, and then-prospect, Reilly Smith earned the spotlight scoring 20 goals in his freshman, Bruin campaign. Smith was a throw-in to the Seguin trade and no one expected him to play to the level that he did, but chemistry with linemates Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand led to Smith’s surprising success. Everywhere Smith succeeded, Eriksson seemingly failed. His name was even thrown around in trade talks in the offseason and beginning of the year.

Eriksson has since silenced the critics, and has proved to be the consistent contributor as promised when he was traded from Dallas. With seven goals 34 games into the season, he is only three lamp-lightings away from matching last season’s total. While improving on last season’s numbers is not that impressive of a feat, what is impressive is how clutch Loui has turned out to be. His chemistry with Carl Soderberg set up a beauty of a game winner on December 17, leading the Bruins to a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Eriksson’s improvement was seen by Head Coach Claude Julien, and as a result, Eriksson has seen ice time as a member of the top line, skating with Milan Lucic and David Krejci. Loui rewarded Julien’s faith and scored his second game-winner in three games Sunday night in Boston.

“It’s always fun to score those important goals,” Eriksson told reporters post-game, “I don’t know why it’s been that way, but hopefully it continues like that.”

The Bruins are in desperate need of a game changing, clutch player and Loui Eriksson may be just what the doctor ordered. He can’t solve all of the Bruins’ problems, but he certainly gives them something to build off of.