If you’re looking to compare Loui Eriksson and Tyler Seguin, well, forget it. The two are not the same type of players, are never going to produce the same type of results, and weren’t dealt one-for-one in the July 2013 trade that brought Eriksson (and Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser, and Joe Morrow) to Boston.
Seguin, of course, leads the NHL with 25 goals, and is second with 42 points. The Bruins, meanwhile, have just one player (Brad Marchand) who has reached double digits in goals, and he just reached the mark Tuesday night.
But Eriksson, the beleaguered Boston winger, finally has started to find a scoring touch of his own, adding two goals to his tally Tuesday night. Eriksson now has nine goals on the season, just one shy of last season’s total in a concussion-shortened year. He also has six goals and two assists in his last eight games. He had three goals in his first 27 games.
“Just the puck is coming to me right now,” Eriksson said. “I’m finding ways to score goals and it’s just a nice feeling when you get there. That’s how I was when I played in Dallas; you just kept going and the goals were coming.
“I’m feeling good right now, so hopefully it will continue.”
Eriksson was unlikely to produce the way that Seguin is producing, the way he himself produced with the Stars, when he had four straight seasons of at least 26 goals. The Bruins play a different system, as Eriksson has reminded often, and the focus is far more on defensive responsibility.
Still, the Bruins could use some scoring. And they are starting to get it from Eriksson.
Eriksson, who was briefly tried with Milan Lucic and David Krejci before immediately being returned to his usual line, has seemed willing and able to drive the net, to go to the dirty areas with confidence.
“I’ve still been around the net before this,” he said, “I just haven’t found pucks around that time and I always try to be in front of the net and try to score those goals. Right now it seems like the pucks are coming to me and we’re creating chances, like I’ve been saying.”
Eriksson’s scoring has taken some pressure off the rest of the players, though clearly they need to score in higher volume as well. It has taken some pressure, too, off general manager Peter Chiarelli to find solutions for problems up and down the lineup, though he still needs a first-line right wing.
“Right now, a lot of it has to do with confidence,” coach Claude Julien said after Tuesday night’s 5-3 win over the Predators at TD Garden. “I think he’s skating better. When you’re confident, a lot of things come easy to you; when you’re not, you’re skating out there, sometimes you feel like you’ve got a piano on your back and you’re sluggish.
“But right now I think he’s feeling it. Like all players in this league, when they get on a roll, they feel good about themselves and I think, to me, he’s showing the kind of player we’ve always thought he was.
“He’s scoring some goals. He’s making some plays. He’s killing penalties. He’s a guy that you can use in all kinds of situations, so right now I think we’re seeing some of his best hockey.”
And while Eriksson is aware of what Seguin is doing, he also knows that he can’t be compared to Seguin. They’re different players in different systems with different goals.
“Obviously he’s scoring a lot of goals over there, but it’s not much I can do about it here,” Eriksson said. “I’m just trying to play my game and try to help the team as much as I can here. These past couple games it’s been really good, so hopefully I’ll continue doing that.”
On Monday, Julien lamented the lack of power-play chances for the Bruins, noting that he often felt as if they were drawing penalties but weren’t seeing them called.
Tuesday night, the referees handed out four minor penalties to the Predators, including consecutive minors to James Neal in the third period. And though the Bruins weren’t able to score on that crucial four-minute power play, there was a positive development among their man-advantage units.
The Krejci unit, which has mostly been without Krejci, scored a power-play goal in the first period, its first since Oct. 26.
“We’re not fortunate enough to get a ton of power plays, but it’s important that we produce on them,” Julien said. “The one thing I would have liked to have seen is that four-minute power play, if we could’ve scored a goal at that point I think we could have had a different ending to the game.
“It’s important when you get a chance to bury a team, you try and make the most of it. We did hit the post, there was a tip, hit the post; if it goes in, we’ve got what we’re looking for.
“The puck movement, the control of it, has been pretty good, so it’s nice to see us at least get some production out of it.”
The Bruins are 19th in the NHL at converting on their power play chances, scoring on 17.1 percent. But they are last in the league at power-play opportunities, sitting at just 82. That’s 16 fewer than Montreal and Buffalo, who are tied for 28th in the category.
The Bruins are now on their three-day holiday break. Like the rest of the NHL, they are off until Saturday. Because the Bruins play Saturday, they will fly to Columbus that morning ahead of their game against the Blue Jackets . . . The NHL roster freeze continues to be in place until Saturday.
Amalie Benjamin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.