'Reckless' Soderberg charges the net for game-winner

'Reckless' Soderberg charges the net for game-winner
January 27, 2014, 11:45 pm
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UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Carl Soderberg has been able to accomplish plenty in his first full NHL season as a 28-year-old rookie out of Sweden.

But the Big Swede hadn’t enjoyed any “picturesque game-winning goals” for the Boston Bruins until Monday night’s breathtaking drive to the net from the right wing in the B’s 6-3 win over the Isles at Nassau Coliseum.

They called it a “heavy speed” Soderberg is playing with on NHL Network, and he looks like a steaming Swedish train when he’s crashing the net in high gear.

“Soderberg, [Loui] Eriksson and even Dan Paille have done a pretty good job of giving us some offense in the last few games,” said Claude Julien. “Soderberg is very capable of doing that. Once he gets his feet moving, he’s a pretty quick player. He’s not afraid to take pucks to the net.

“Whether we can call those kinds of guys reckless players, and that means they’re not afraid of the net. With his size and strength, he’ll take it [to the net]. That was a nice goal.”

It was perfect timing with Milan Lucic hitting Soderberg in stride after the Big Swede had changed for David Krejci, and the 6-foot-3, 220-pound center did the rest.

Soderberg used his speed to beat Isles defenseman Thomas Hickey wide with the gassed New York blueliner struggling to keep up with him, and then used big body to shield Hickey away as he buried a forehand big past Kevin Poulin. The Swedish forward has had some moments this year where he’s flashed his athleticism and pure hockey skill, but that was the first time it all came together for a highlight reel package that also tipped the balance of the game.

The goal arrived as the go-ahead score with just 17 seconds remaining on the clock in the second period, and really seemed to break the Isles spirit in a back-and-forth game.

“We had been playing good the last couple of games, Loui and I, but we hadn’t scored. So today we had one goal each, and that was important for us,” said Soderberg. “You don’t just want to create scoring chances. You want to score goals as well.

“I’ve been really fortunate to play with a guy like Loui that’s been a 30-goal scorer in this league, so it’s important to get him going.”

While the third line of Soderberg, Loui Eriksson and Daniel Paille has looked good in the last two games – and accounted for a pair of goals in Monday’s win – it may be altered on Tuesday with the return of Chris Kelly. The Big Swede has enjoyed playing the pivot over the last two games in place of Ryan Spooner, and has looked good playing his natural position.

But he’s also more than willing to make room for Kelly, his center on the third line to start the season.

“I like center, but [Kelly] is coming back to center soon,” said Soderberg. “So I’ll stick to the wing.”

The Bruins will also hope that Soderberg continues to attack the net with reckless abandon, and use that speed, size and strength in a combination that can be nearly impossible to stop.