Soderberg steps up against Blues team that drafted him

Soderberg steps up against Blues team that drafted him
November 22, 2013, 10:45 am
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Carl Soderberg said he derived no extra pleasure from scoring a goal against the St. Louis Blues team that drafted him all the way back in the second round of the 2004 NHL Draft.

“Not at all . . . [my time in St. Louis] was a long time ago and I was there a really short time, so not really,” said Soderberg.

But the Big Swede certainly played like he had a point to prove while aiding his third line dominate play against St. Louis, and buried a needed goal in the second period to help the Bruins earn a point in the 3-2 shootout loss to the Blues at TD Garden. The 27-year-old might be too proud or dignified to admit it, but there are those close to the player that will admit the Swedish player didn't have the best experience with the Blues organization before retreating back to Malmo, Sweden for close to 10 years.

Whatever the case, Soderberg played one of the best all-around games of the season for the Black and Gold with the sizzling wrist shot from the slot in the second period, 6-of-8 face-off wins and nine generated shot attempts while possessing the puck all around the offensive zone in a heavy, physically intense game.

Soderberg said his confidence is at an all-time high as he begins to see the fruits of his offseason labor headed into this season.

“I feel sharp enough, both my shape and my timing makes me way better,” said Soderberg. “I’m working on going up. We haven’t played that good the last couple of weeks, so I think we played really good today, but we lost. So that’s hockey.”

There are certainly no complaints from a Bruins coaching staff that’s seen Soderberg really start to take things to a different level since the first road loss to Ottawa, when he played dominantly while the rest of his line struggled.

Thursday saw Soderberg, Chris Kelly and Reilly Smith all operating at a similarly high level.

“I thought his game tonight was extremely good. [Soderberg] played really, a heavy game and besides his goal had some good chances and I thought that was one of his best efforts,” said Claude Julien. “I see him getting better and better all the time. It’s nice to see that potential that everybody saw in him when we brought him over.”

Some of it is certainly comfort at the NHL level for the 27-year-old Soderberg. Some of it is the natural talents of a 6-foot-3, 215-pound power forward simply showing themselves for a Bruins team that never wavered in their pursuit of him.

On the goal both Smith and Kelly cycled the puck in the St. Louis in an extended possession that pushed the Blues defense, and Maxim Lapierre was too late covering the slot while the Big Swede carved out position.

That led to Soderberg’s third goal of the season before he and his team were eventually turned away by the Blues in the shootout. But as the Big Swede might say, “that’s hockey.”