Eriksson: 'Just happy to be back playing'

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- When the Boston Bruins returned to the ice Monday morning at Ristuccia Arena, it wasn’t a surprise that forward Reilly Smith was still wearing a gold practice jersey, along with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

That meant fellow forward Loui Eriksson, who returned to the lineup Saturday after missing 15 games due to a concussion, remained on the Bruins’ third line with Carl Soderberg and Ryan Spooner. That line produced Boston’s lone goal in the team’s 1-0 win over the San Jose Sharks Saturday night at SAP Center in San Jose.

“I think we were a good line,” Eriksson said. “We had some great chances out there. Both Carl and Spooner have playing really good and if we play the way we should we’re going to be a good line. It felt pretty good the first game we played together, so it was nice.”

During Eriksson’s absence, Smith was given an opportunity to play on the team’s second line with Bergeron and Marchand. Smith took advantage and that trio quickly produced offensively. Eriksson was watching and said he wasn’t concerned that he could possibly lose his spot on the second line once he was cleared to return.

“Not really,” he said after Monday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena. “It was fun to see them playing good. Smitty is playing really good for us this year and it’s really fun to see that. I’m just trying to get in here and help the team as much as I can. I’m just happy to be back playing.”

Eriksson has missed a total of 20 games this season, his first in Boston, with a pair of concussions. Despite the head injuries, he said he’s not going to change the way he plays the game.

“No, not really,” he said. “I’m going to keep playing how I’ve been playing. Just the two hits this year I really didn’t see [coming] so maybe I’ll keep my eyes up a bit more than I’m used to, but that’s part of the game, you’re going to get hit.”

Before arriving in Boston as part of the Tyler Seguin trade last summer, Eriksson spent his NHL career with the Dallas Stars. He played against his former team earlier this season when the Bruins hosted the Stars on Nov. 5, a game Dallas won 3-2 in a shootout, but Eriksson will return to Dallas when Boston begins a two-game road trip there on Thursday.

“I’m excited to go to Dallas and play there,” he said. “It’s going to be a little bit different playing against them instead of playing with them. It’s definitely going to be fun to be back there playing. It’s going to be fun.”