WINNIPEG – It was a big night for many of the young Bruins players looking to make a lasting preseason impression, and some definitely stepped up in a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre.
Loui Eriksson and Ryan Spooner executed a perfect 2-on-1 in overtime for the game-winner with Spooner backhanding a pass that glanced off Eriksson’s skate, and right to his stick before roofing the shot.
Niklas Svedberg was at the top of the list while making 26 stops and keeping the Black and Gold in the game while they lagged a bit in the second period before young Spooner snapped off a big tying goal in the third period.
Patrice Bergeron opened the scoring in the first period by snapping home a bid from the slot that Brad Marchand helped create while dangling unmolested through the left face-off circle. The Jets tied things up later in the first period when Devin Setoguchi took advantage of a good bounce off bodies in front of the net, and beat Svedberg with a quick strike from the slot.
The score remained the same until the third period when Matt Fraser went off for holding, and Mark Scheifele got behind both Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton for a partial breakaway on a busted play. Fraser answered minutes later, however, when he tipped a Ryan Spooner shot past Ondrej Pavelec to tie things up at 2.
Bartkowski picked up a helper on the play and leads the Bruins with six points in six games this preseason.
GOLD STAR: Niklas Svedberg made 26 saves – including 13 in the second period when the Winnipeg Jets through the kitchen sink at him – and improved to 2-0 while backstopping the Bruins to victory. While the Swedish goaltender hasn’t been perfect in the preseason, he’s been arguably Boston’s most consistent puck-stopper. It was an impressive performance for Svedberg, who was tested early on a Chris Thorburn shot from point blank after a Dennis Seidenberg turnover and throughout the night by a competitive Winnipeg bunch. Svedberg finished with a .927 save percentage (38-of-41 shots) in the preseason, which is tops among the Bruins goaltenders.
BLACK EYE: Five hits and a shot on net for Jordan Caron, but the Bruins winger just doesn’t have any in any one department to make an impact with this team. His lack of skating speed means he seems to always be chasing the puck, and he didn’t have enough strength to get off a quality shot when twice he had the puck on his stick amid traffic in the third period. On a night when No. 38 really needed to show something in order to make the Bruins NHL roster, Caron simply didn’t do enough. Young players such as Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser making plays to help win the game sit in stark contrast to Caron’s lack of contribution.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins fell down 2-1 after Matt Fraser took a holding penalty in the third period, and Matt Scheifele raced behind a flat-footed Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton for a power play strike. Rather than hang their heads, the Bruins kids got involved and Ryan Spooner used a Fraser screen in front of the net to sneak a puck past Ondrej Pavelec for the tying goal. That set things up for Loui Eriksson to get his first Bruins goal in the extra session with a big assist from Spooner.
HONORABLE MENTION: In his best game as a member of the Bruins, Loui Eriksson potted a game-winning overtime goal after skillfully kicking a puck from his skates to his stick, and then roofing a shot over Ondrej Pavelec. But that was just part of the effort from the Swedish winger, who tied a team-high with four shots on net and had some good moments in building chemistry with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Eriksson had a couple of nice feeds from the wing to No. 37 hanging around the slot, and that should be a connection that hits many times during the season. He also bumped into Marchand on rushes up the ice and was off-sides once or twice as well, so the chemistry isn’t completely a finished product quite yet either.
BY THE NUMBERS: 6 -- the number of points for defenseman Matt Bartkowski, all assists, to lead the Bruins during their six preseason games.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “It was fun to get the game-pace going, and to play in a full arena. It’s always fun to play in them.” –Niklas Svedberg, who admitted the 15,006 at the MTS Centre was the biggest crowd he’s played in front of in his career.