"Yeah it was a tough night…pucks were bouncing everywhere, both teams didn’t seem to get any momentum going there," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following the game. "So it wasn’t the prettiest, it wasn’t as entertaining as you would probably like it to be, but at the end of the night it went into overtime and turned into a shootout and we found a way to win."
Justin Florek and Chris Kelly each tallied a goal, with Kelly's tying it up in the third, and Carter Camper scored in the eighth round of the shootout, as the Bruins came back from being down 2-0.
The Capitals got on the board first with 2:42 to go in the opening frame, as Tom Wilson tipped in a shot up under the crossbar behind Tuukka Rask. It was the only goal Rask let in, making 14 saves on 15 shots and getting a few "Tuuuuuk" chants from the Black & Gold fans in attendance.
Rask split the time between the pipes with Niklas Svedberg, who swapped time in goal halfway through the game and stopped 12 of 13 shots in regulation and the five-minute overtime. Svedberg remained in goal for the full shootout.
In the second, the pace slowed down with players on both sides taking an extra second or two to settle down the puck with the varied ice conditions, but the squads still competed well and battled through it. With four minutes left in the second period, a pane of glass broke and fell onto the ice after B's blueliner Chris Casto and Alex Ovechkin went into the corner boards.
After an intermission to attend to the glass and clear the ice, play resumed with the final four minutes of the middle frame, followed immediately by the third period.
Casey Wellman fired in a laser past Svedberg to give Washington a 2-0 lead with 1:11 to go in the second, but it was Bobby "Buzz Saw" Robins and his high energy that helped turn the tide for the B's.
("'Buzz saw' is just mucking hard, and hitting guys, and being physical, that’s more of his type of thing," a linemate in Providence once said of Robins.)
Robins Brings the Fight
"It was a comeback win, also, down by a couple of goals. Bobby [helped get us] on the board and got us going," said Julien. "And obviously, his enthusiasm for the game showed tonight and we kind of needed that to wake us up."
Just 27 seconds after the Caps' score, it was Robins grinding away and linemate Justin Florek punching in the greasy goal from in front with 44.3 left in the period, to make it 2-1 heading to the third.
"Definitely, that’s kind of our role as a line is to get some energy and contribute when we can and it just so happened today that we were mucking and grinding and got the puck to the net and we were poking away and it slipped in," said Robins, who played on a "grind line" in Providence with Florek last season.
"So anything we can do to help the team, it feels good and winning makes everybody happy, so it was awesome."
But Robins didn't just help grind away and get the B's on the board late in the second; his energy came out right in the first period.
The "tough guy" has racked up 316 penalty minutes with the P-Bruins in 2012-13 and 150 in 2011-12 after he was signed by the AHL team midway through the season. He got his first NHL contract since the 2006-07 season (with Ottawa) when the B's signed him to a one-year, two-way deal on July 5.
So it came as no surprise when he dropped the gloves with Dane Byers just 6:44 into the opening frame. He had tussled with the Caps' own "tough guy" in the opening minutes. Byers instigated the fight, and Robins gladly took part, with a few heavy punches being thrown near the faceoff circle to the left of Washington netminder Braden Holtby.
"It was a quick one," smiled the always affable Robins. "Dane Byers is a worthy competitor and he battles and fights. We’ve battled against each other before and I figured we’d run into each other at some point and he came in and grabbed me."
"It was just a quick one, I wish it would have lasted a little longer but everybody came out safe and sound - and nobody’s feelings were hurt - so it was a positive for everybody."
Robins' energy never let up, factoring into the B's first on the night, and carrying his enthusiasm until the Black & Gold were hopping off the bench to huddle together for a quick postgame celebration, with helmet taps and gloved fist bumps.
"He’s an energy guy, he’s a guy that comes in and will bring some life to your hockey club. And I thought even watching him last year there was a lot of times that they came out, not flat, but they weren’t coming out as hard as they could have and all of the sudden he put some life into the game and would turn the tide around," said Julien, of Robins.
"For a guy who’s been around for a long time, he really gets excited about playing and it shows. Nothing bothered him tonight, he was going back and forth with Ovechkin and he didn’t care who he was he was going to do his job no matter who the player was."
"So it’s kind of funny to watch but at the same time, you gain respect for a guy like that who’s willing to do his job and not get intimidated or doesn’t care who the other guy is."
The 31-year-old, who spent nearly seven seasons jumping from the AHL to the ECHL to overseas, following a four-year career at U-Mass Lowell, was just trying to blend in with his teammates, while trying to muck it up with those in red.
"Right into the mix. It felt really good out there just to be battling with my team and my linemates," said Robins. "We were just doing our thing and buzzing around in the forecheck and finishing the body, getting the puck to the net, and fortunately we were able to poke one in and turn the momentum and got the win in the end."
"So it was awesome and felt great out there."
Kelly Drives One Home
With the B's trailing 2-1, and with 12:06 showing on the clock in the third period, Chris Kelly drilled a laser from the right circle just as a Bruins power play ended. Joe Morrow and Johnny Boychuk's work along the blueline to help settle the puck helped overload the left side, and setting Kelly up for the shooting lane.
Kelly had been centering a line with Jordan Caron and newcomer Reilly Smith all night (just as he has throughout training camp), with Smith assisting on his goal, along with D-man Chris Casto.
"I thought it was a good first game. Especially for everyone in here; it’s been a while since we played," the centerman said postgame. "I thought the first period there was pretty scrambly but that was to be expected; everyone was excited to move their feet. But as the game went on it was a little more controlled and I thought we played much better in the last two periods."
And it may just be the preseason, but anytime you find the back of the net (and nearly score the winning goal in the shootout before being stopped by the crossbar), that certainly builds confidence moving forward.
"It was a real nice goal, a top shelf goal, a great one-timer," said Coach Julien, of his alternate captain's drive. "And then even in the shootout, right under the cross bar, we’re talking about inches and he would have had the game-winner there. So I thought he was good tonight, not just because he scored and the shootout opportunity, but also I thought he played a real solid game."
"The kind of game you expect your third line centerman to play. He was hard to play against, he was on the puck and very reliable."