The twenty-eighth time is a charm – at least for Vladimir Sobotka.
Wednesday night, during the Bruins game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and in Sobotka’s 28th NHL contest since being recalled from the Providence Bruins in November, the B’s patient rookie scored his first NHL goal.
“I’m so glad that I scored,” the center said after practice on Thursday. “It’s been some time – 27 games without scoring – so I’m so glad.”
The goal came at 14:43 in the first period off a pass from linemate Jeremey Reich and helped put the B’s up 2-0.
“We dumped it in, and [Shawn Thornton
] made a good play of keeping it in on the boards…just dumped it down the hole, and I got it, and seeing Vlady going in, he was in a good spot and tipped it in,” Reich said.
Sobotka was thankful for his teammates’ help in the play.
“It was a very good job from Thorny and Reicher, giving me the pass,” he explained,” so I just shot the puck and scored a goal.”
You could almost see the weight lifted off his shoulders as he pumped his hands in the air in celebration.
“It was a good feeling,” he said.
Reich hoped the goal would create some confidence and have a snowball effect on the young player’s scoring.
“He’s scored in Providence…so you can definitely tell he can score,” he said. “Now he’s got some confidence, and he believes he can do it, so he’ll put more in for sure.
“Sometimes all it takes is getting that one and believing you can do it.”
And it was probably an even better feeling when Sobotka’s goal turned out to be the one that helped the Black & Gold gain another two points in the 2-1 win.
“Every once in a while, that’s what you need, for everybody to be able to score some goals at times and help your team win,” head coach Claude Julien told NESN after the game.
“When you see young guys come up and do more than you expect…it gets you going,” said P.J. Axelsson.
At Thursday’s practice, the rookie received congratulations from every corner of the locker room.
“He’s had chances, and it’s nice to see one finally go in for him,” said linemate Thornton.
“This time of year, your production can come from unlikely sources,” added goalie Tim Thomas
. “It’s good to see Vlad get his first goal, and maybe it can open the door for him because he has all the talent to do it.”
Sobotka stayed modest and credited his teammates with a great game as well.
“I think the whole team worked hard,” he said. “They did a very good job on the penalty kill.”
With four games in the next week, Sobotka’s looking forward to playing hard and hopefully increasing his goal count.
“I try to play every game 100 percent,” he said. “So I’ll try, and we’ll see.”