UNIONDALE, NY -- Understandably, it took Loui Eriksson a handful of games upon his return from a concussion. But the Swedish forward is once again finding the game that’s made him such a steady star in the NHL.
Eriksson had a couple of good scoring chances in the blowout win over the Flyers last weekend, and that was a harbinger of things to come. The 28-year-old Swede finally cashed in for his first goal since way back on Nov. 23 in a 6-3 win over the New York Islanders on Monday at Nassau Coliseum.
Eriksson opened the scoring for the Bruins with a nifty roof job to the short side from a goal line shooting position made possible by a smooth pass from Daniel Paille that freed him up. He then went out and played a quality game riding alongside Paille and Carl Soderberg.
The ability to elevate his shot from tight quarters like an odd angle to the side of the net is a skill Eriksson have shown off multiple times already this season for the Bruins, and is one of the big attributes that’s allowed him to push big goal totals in the past for the Dallas Stars.
His two extended absences due to concussions haven’t allowed him to fully display his understated, nuanced all-around game, but it’s starting to come through.
Eriksson finished Monday's win with four shots on net -- his most since returning from his second concussion suffered on Dec. 7 at the hands of a Brooks Orpik hit-and-run job -- and six shot attempts. Rather than hesitating as he was in the first few games back, Eriksson is once again simply reacting on instinct and his natural hockey smarts.
“I'm just trying to not think as much," Eriksson said. "I'm just trying to do as much as I can. Of course it's been tough sitting out that many games after the concussion, but I feel better now.”
The chemistry with his fellow Swede has been remarkable for Eriksson, and Claude Julien has recognized plenty of evidence that the Swedish winger is getting back to the player that led all Bruins with 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists) during the month of November.
“I just think his whole game is coming around,” said Julien. “I'm not going to leave it to hockey sense, but I'm starting to see him playing better all the time. Again, I'm sure he's not at the top of his game, but he's been much better here, so it's certainly encouraging for us and certainly encouraging for him.”