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Lapointe's contributions starting to add up

Through the 11 games Martin Lapointe had played this season heading into last night's contest with Edmonton, the veteran winger had just one goal and two assists.

But if you ask Bruins coach Mike Sullivan about Lapointe's play, you won't hear any complaints.

"He's a vital part of our team, he sets the tone in our locker room," Sullivan said following a 4-3 victory over the Oilers, the Bruins' second consecutive win at home. "He's one of those guys who lays it on the line every shift and every game. Fortunately for him he got rewarded [last night] with some points."

Skating alongside Sergei Samsonov and rookie Patrice Bergeron, Lapointe scored a goal and added an assist. That line is beginning to look comfortable together.

"Obviously, the last three or four games I've been playing with [Bergeron] and Sammy, I haven't been as physical as before because those guys always have the puck and I just can't go out there and make contact just for nothing," Lapointe said. "I think it's nice to play a little bit more with the puck and try to get open and obviously the production is going to come. I think it's starting to click and hopefully it continues that way."

Through the first two periods, Lapointe skated nine shifts and had the goal and the assist. He also had two other quality scoring chances from in close that barely missed opening the game up.

Lapointe finished with four shots on goal and an even plus/minus rating in his 12 minutes 21 seconds of playing time.

"Even nights when he hasn't scored or got an assist, or ended up on the score sheet, I think he brings so much to the table," Sullivan said.

Lapointe was able to help the Bruins take an early lead when, parked in front of the goal on a first-period power play, he deftly tapped a pass to a wide-open Bergeron at the post. The rookie knocked it in for his fifth goal of the season.

"I try to make things happen out there in front of the net," Lapointe said. "Their defense was really concerned with a guy when he's in front and I just tapped it across to Bergeron."

Minutes after the Oilers evened the game at 1-1 in the second period, Lapointe joined Joe Thornton on a two-on-one break and slapped in a nice feed from the captain to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead. Lapointe, whose big contract has come with high expectations from Bruins fans, believes that even when he's not scoring goals or racking up assists, he's doing something to help his team.

"I understand where the fans are coming from, when a player is making that big money, they expect a lot," he said. "But I'm past that. I want to win and I'll do anything that can help the team win. If it's going in front of the net on the power play and getting scrappy, then I have to do that.

"As long as my teammates benefit from that, that's all I care about."

Sullivan likes the way Lapointe has played with Samsonov and Bergeron and pointed out that Lapointe is asked to do more of the little things on the line.

"He's on a line with two pretty gifted players," Sullivan said. "He does a lot of the thankless jobs that allow a line to be effective."

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