BOSTON -- While it was mostly a negative night for the Boston Bruins, there was a bright spot with fourth line rookie winger Anton Blidh.
The Swedish energy forward scored his first NHL goal in the third period to help key a Bruins rally that ended up falling short in a 4-2 loss to the New York Islanders at TD Garden, and was both happy and subdued after the game.
“I mean it’s a nice experience. I’m glad to score my first NHL goal, but yeah, we lost and that sucks,” said Blidh, who finished with five shots on net and eight shot attempts to go along with his three registered hits in 11:20 of ice time. “I tried to give [plenty of energy] and then get things back on track. You come in, like to give me a couple games and I can make my game. I felt more comfortable.”
The goal was a hustling fourth line-type goal as Blidh fired a shot that started toward the center of the net before it ricocheted off Nick Leddy’s skate and ultimately into the Islanders net. It was a shot from a bad angle that needed some assistance to end up going in, but it was also a solid offensive choice with the puck from a fourth line winger where offense is strictly a bonus.
Whether it’s kicking in a little secondary offense or agitating opponents into taking penalties as he did with Drew Doughty last weekend, Blidh is quickly becoming a player that might be able to stick in Boston for that fourth line role.
“He plays a very simple game, a north-south game. He brings a lot of speed and he’s got some skill,” said Jimmy Hayes, who skated on a line with Blidh on Sunday. “He just continues to get pucks to the net and he plays hard and he gets underneath the other team’s skin, he’s been very effective.
“He continues to find ways to get out there against the top opponents to get under their skin, and try to get them to draw some penalties. I think he’s been doing a heck of a job of it and it was nice to see him get his first one.”
While it’s far from a guaranteed gig for life with the Bruins, the 21-year-old Blidh is playing himself into a bigger role with the Black and Gold while showing off exactly what he can do as a very effective energy player in Boston.