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Eriksson scores first as Boston tops Columbus

The SportsXchange

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Starved for points, Boston left wing Loui Eriksson couldn't care less about style points.

Eriksson's goal early in the third period was the game-winner as the Bruins beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 in a tightly checked game before 14,092 fans at Nationwide Arena.

Chris Kelly and Milan Lucic also scored and goaltender Tuukka Rask had 26 saves, giving the Bruins (3-1-0) a win in their first road game of the season.

"It wasn't the prettiest one, but I'll take it," said Eriksson, who had been scoreless in his first three games with Boston after coming over from Dallas in an offseason trade.

"It was nice to see it go in. I've had some slow starts in my career. I've learned from that that it will come. If you create chances, it will come. We did that today and I found one."

Columbus' only goal came on a power play late in the first period by defenseman Jack Johnson, his second of the season.

"We were grinding it out and not getting much," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "Loui was really good tonight. He's competing better. You have to give those guys some time to get adjusted and acquainted on the room and on the ice.

"We want to give those guys a month before we really assess them. But you're seeing a guy after a few games getting his stride."

The Bruins acquired Eriksson from Dallas last summer in the blockbuster trade that sent Tyler Seguin to the Stars. But playing on a line with left wing Brad Marchard and center Patrice Bergeron, Eriksson had been stifled early in the season. Through three games, he had zero points.

That changed 49 seconds into third period Saturday, moments after a Bruins power play expired.

Eriksson was screaming down the right wing when Bergeron funneled a pass across the slot and found him right in stride. Eriksson gathered the puck and flipped it off his backhand past the glove side of Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to make it 2-1.

It was one of a game-high six shots for Eriksson.

"I see a guy who has the puck on his stick more right now," Julien said. "And he wants it there."

Lucic's empty-net goal with 32.5 seconds remaining capped the scoring.

The Blue Jackets led 1-0 late in the first when Johnson stepped into a one-timer from inside the blue line.

The lead stood until late in the second when Kelly came out of the penalty box and moments later had a clean look from high in the zone. The puck may have been deflected before beating Bobrovsky.

"I thought in the second period, even though we had a 1-0 lead, they started taking over the game," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "They stuck with their game, how they play, the things they do well. And we started to get away from that in the second.

"They kept pucks alive better than we did in their offensive zone. Their defensemen did a better job getting pucks through to the net than ours did."

Kelly's goal, at 16:16 of the second, ended a streak of 91 minutes, 25 seconds without a goal for the Bruins. They were shut out 2-0 against Colorado on Thursday.

NOTES: Columbus LW Blake Comeau left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury. ... Bruins D Adam McQuaid left the game briefly in the second period after getting high-sticked in the nose and mouth by Blue Jackets LW Boone Jenner. ... Blue Jackets D Fedor Tyutin made his season debut after missing three games with an upper-body injury. D Nikita Nikitin was scratched to fit Tyutin in the lineup. ... Boston D Matt Bartkowski made his season debut, taking D Dougie Hamilton's spot in the lineup. ... Blue Jackets LW Matt Calvert was a late scratch with a groin injury. ... The game was changed from its originally scheduled 7 p.m. to 2 p.m. so it could air live in Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, Czech Republic and South Africa.
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