Bruins forward Loui Eriksson sat out his second straight game, Saturday night’s 4-3 loss to the Devils, because of the concussion he sustained against Buffalo Wednesday.
It is unknown how much more time Eriksson will miss.
“Loui’s doing OK, I guess, for a guy who suffered a concussion,” said coach Claude Julien. “It’s the same thing. You have a good day. You have less of a good day. It’s early on. But like always, you keep your fingers crossed that it’s going to get better sooner than later for his sake.”
Because of Eriksson’s injury, Brad Marchand played on Patrice Bergeron’s right side for the second straight game. Reilly Smith remained on the line as Bergeron’s left wing.
Marchand did not play well as Eriksson’s replacement against New Jersey. Marchand had no points and zero shots in 14:41 of ice time.
Eriksson has only been a Bruin for eight games. But in his ninth, the first full game Eriksson sat out, his teammates recognized how much he will be missed.
“His two-way game, the way that he’s always there on defense and also on the forecheck,” Bergeron said of Eriksson’s presence. “He’s a great player. You obviously miss him every time when you’re playing with a great player like him. But I’m used to playing with Marshy. Marshy’s playing a different wing now, so he’s got to adjust to that. It wasn’t bad. I thought we adjusted pretty well.”
Eriksson struggled early, going without a point in his first three games. He wasn’t in synch with his linemates.
Eriksson potted his first goal as a Bruin against Columbus Oct. 12. Since then, Eriksson’s touch and skating had improved. Against Buffalo, before John Scott knocked Eriksson into another country, the No. 2 line had generated consistent offensive chances.
In the first period, an Eriksson defensive-zone chip off the boards led to a close-range Bergeron shot. The line combined for nine of the Bruins’ 34 shots. They played well defensively, generated speed through the neutral zone, and controlled the puck in the offensive zone.
“He’s a good playmaker,” Julien said. “Not only that, he’s smart with the puck. When he has it, he doesn’t just throw it away. What we missed was probably the chemistry that started to build with his linemates. I thought that line was really good and had a lot of chances in Buffalo. You could see it coming along. Right now, it kind of takes a step backward because of that. The guys that are there, Marsh has been with Bergy long enough, so there’s a guy playing with him now that knows Bergy well.”
The Devils’ Jaromir Jagr only dressed for 33 games, including 22 in the playoffs, for the Bruins last season. But the future Hall of Famer made an impression with his short stay that almost resulted in another Stanley Cup ring.
“I thought, if anything, where he’s been maybe questioned or criticized at times has been his moods. His mood here was great,” Julien said. “He was a good example for young guys, working out, doing extra, and trying to stay at the top of his game. Obviously at that age, you have to do that to stay at the top of your game. He led by example in a lot of ways. Good memories. We were happy to have him.”
Jagr is a two-time Cup champion. He was the league MVP in 1999, led the NHL in scoring five times, and has 683 career goals, 10th most in NHL history.
Yet for all his experience and accomplishments, Jagr never participated in a come-from-behind doozy like he did last season against Toronto in Game 7.
“I don’t remember any games like that, not where I played on a team around the league the last 20 years,” Jagr said. “It might happen in the regular season or in the first game of the playoffs. But Game 7? That’s special. That doesn’t happen very often, especially where you’re kind of dead. Everybody was thinking it might be the last game of the season. All of a sudden you score three goals and you win in overtime. That’s kind of special.”
Jagr assisted on two goals, including the winner. Jagr has two goals and seven helpers for nine points.
“Great play by Jagr to get the puck to [Damien] Brunner originally,” said New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer. “For a guy who’s 41 years old, I thought he was a beast again tonight. I thought he was great.”
Jarome Iginla, who scored the Bruins second goal midway through the first period, appeared in his 10th game of the season Saturday. By doing so, he qualified for a $3.7 million bonus payment. If necessary, the Bruins can apply all or part of Iginla’s payment toward the bonus cushion at the conclusion of the season. Any team can exceed the $64.3 million cap by 7.5 percent of the upper limit . . . Devils goalie and Marblehead native Cory Schneider didn’t travel to Boston and didn’t dress for the game because of a lower-body injury. DeBoer said Schneider most likely aggravated an injury in Thursday’s 3-2 loss to Vancouver . . . David Krejci won 9 of 11 faceoffs . . . Dougie Hamilton assisted on Iginla’s goal. Hamilton also cleared the puck that led to Milan Lucic’s goal. Hamilton moved the puck crisply on both plays . . . Matt Bartkowski was a healthy scratch for the fourth straight game.
Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at email@example.com.