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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, January 16th (All times Eastern)
Boston Bruins (29-15-2) at Dallas Stars (21-18-7), 8:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of concussions have prevented Loui Eriksson from having an impact during his first season with the Boston Bruins.
The 28-year-old will look to get his season on track Thursday night when the Bruins visit the Stars in Eriksson's return to Dallas.
A second-round pick by the Stars in 2003, Eriksson netted 150 goals and logged 357 points in 501 games with Dallas before getting traded to Boston on July 4.
The high-profile trade saw the Bruins deal Tyler Seguin, the second-overall pick of the 2010 draft, Rich Peverley and Ryan Button to the Stars for Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow.
Smith, a third-round pick of Dallas' in 2009, has been a solid contributor with a team-high 15 goals and 18 assists in a career-high 46 games after having just nine points in 40 games with the Stars.
But Eriksson, a former 36-goal scorer, has managed just five tallies and 15 points in 26 games this season. He sat out five games in late October and early November with a concussion before missing 15 straight games with a second head injury sustained in early December.
Eriksson returned to action in a 1-0 win at San Jose on Saturday and was also in the lineup for Tuesday's 4-3 setback to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand each had a goal and an assist for the Bruins, Gregory Campbell added a goal and Tuukka Rask made 22 saves in Boston's third loss in four games.
The slump has dropped the Bruins into a tie with the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the Atlantic Division.
"Too many breakdowns and also I think we are forcing plays that we shouldn't and sometimes we're not in sync. We're not forcing where all guys go as a whole and together," said Bergeron. "And obviously, when there's only one guy going, that opens up too many lanes and they're going to eat you alive if you do that, then if you don't, if you aren't on the same page."
Defenseman Dougie Hamilton missed the contest with a concussion and is unlikely to play tonight.
While Eriksson is still trying to find his groove this season, Seguin has quickly adjusted to the Stars and leads the club with 21 goals and 42 points after notching 56 goals and 121 points in 203 contests with the Bruins.
Seguin, though, had gone five straight without a point before logging an assist in Tuesday's 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers that snapped Dallas' six- game losing streak.
Ryan Garbutt had a goal and two assists, while both Trevor Daley and Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist for a Stars club that had lost six in a row in regulation for the first time since Dec. 5-15, 1995.
Erik Cole scored 14 seconds into the game and Kari Lehtonen made 31 saves.
"We're pretty happy with this one," Garbutt said. "First win of 2014, we just have to keep it going."
The Stars have won two in a row over the Bruins, including a 3-2 shootout victory in Boston on Nov. 5. Both Seguin and Peverley had shootout goals, while Eriksson was held without a point.
Lehtonen had 34 saves and is 7-5-0 with a 2.40 goals-against average in his career versus Boston.
Rask is 1-0-1 with a 2.4 GAA versus the Stars, making 34 saves in the loss on Nov. 5.
The Stars are 7-3-0 with two ties in 12 games at home versus the Bruins since moving to Dallas.
01/16 10:52:03 ET