Old teammate Smith gets Eriksson going

Old teammate Smith gets Eriksson going
October 17, 2013, 2:45 am
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SUNRISE, Fla. – Perhaps it’s not a coincidence new Bruins winger Loui Eriksson has scored goals in each of his past two games.

The 27-year-old Swedish forward certainly feels more comfortable in the Bruins way of doing things, and he’s started to develop some chemistry with Patrice Bergeron after getting to know his tendencies on the ice. Still, another factor in unlocking Eriksson’s offensive potential might also be reuniting him with his former Dallas Stars teammate Reilly Smith, who has collected assists on both of the winger’s goals since replacing Brad Marchand on that line.

Smith got the secondary assist on Eriksson’s goal Monday afternoon against the Red Wings by making the pass over to Johnny Boychuk, who fired a point shot that glanced off the Swede’s knee before ricocheting past Jonas Gustavsson between the Detroit pipes. Smith also got the secondary helper last weekend while getting the puck to Bergeron, who found Eriksson with the cross-ice pass that set up his first goal in Black and Gold.

“You can see even during the 2-on-1’s [in practice] that they read off each other well. It’s obvious they’ve been [playing] with each other before. [Smith] is a young player that seems to be getting better all the time with confidence. You see that his skill level is pretty good, and his hockey sense and vision are also pretty good,” said Claude Julien. “I think what we’re going to discover is that he’s only going to get better as he progresses and gets more experience.

“He’s got the ability to possibly be a guy that can move up to [top six] whether it’s permanently, or at certain times. I like the way he plays: he’s conscientious and very reliable with limited time playing in this league.

Overall, the 22-year-old Smith has three assists in five games for the Black and Gold after arriving as a relative unknown in the deal that sent Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars for four players, including Eriksson. He had an excellent camp in winning the open audition on the third line that cemented him a position on the roster. He's now running with the opportunity when given a little bit more responsibility.

It remains to be seen how long Smith and Marchand stay in their respective spots after Julien made the change to start the third period against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but the results have spoken for themselves.