It was, in many ways, the typical Opening Night game: sloppy passes, pucks ticking off of skates and lazy plays with the puck were the norm. Hell, even Patrice Bergeron took a holding penalty. Patrice Bergeron!
So in a weird, shake-off-the-rust game, it makes sense that it would be a weird, "what just happened?" goal that gave the Bruins their first win of the young season.
Chris Kelly tapped the deflection of an Adam McQuaid shot past a sprawling Steve Mason with just under two minutes to go in the third period to give the Bruins a 2-1 win over Philadelphia before a raucous sellout crowd of 17,565 at TD Garden.
Kelly's tap-in came on a play he started with a carry-in at the offensive blue line. The puck eventually found Carl Soderberg, who served up a one-timer for McQuaid. McQuaid's stick broke on contact, and the puck went off of Mason, landing behind him where Kelly finished the play. It was the kind of complete play Claude Julien loves, with Kelly involved from start to finish.
"I thought they were good tonight," said Julien postgame. He cited the desire to have at least two familiar lines as a reason for going with that trio, and it paid off.
Soderberg had a particularly strong night, assisting on both Kelly's winner and Reilly Smith's power play strike that opened the scoring 10:39 into the first.
Bruins fans also got a good look at Bobby Robins, who made his presence known: Robins and Craig Cunningham laid a double hit on Zac Rinaldo in the second period, causing Luke Schenn to come calling and leading to Robins' first non-exhibition NHL scrap.
Robins smiled when asked about the chants of "BOBBY! BOBBY" from the crowd, saying "I know the brand of hockey these Boston fans like."
Robins added that he hasn't had time to process all of the feelings from tonight, but said he was glad his wife and 11-month old daughter could be in the stands to see him play.
Other lines didn't fair as well as the Swedish Kells trio, though none was particularly bad. Milan Lucic cited unfamiliarity as part of the reason for his line's relative struggles, saying he thought they got better as the game went on.
"We didn't get scored on," he said with a smile, something one knows the stats-crazy Lucic was proud of.
Lucic added that these things take a little time, and they have a lot to build on going into tomorrow night's match-up with Detroit.
Sean Couturier scored the Flyers' lone goal four minutes into the second period, as a weird bounce in front ticked off of a Bruin, then Couturier's stick, then past Tuukka Rask, who was good when he needed to be and finished the night with 19 saves.
The Bruins will be back at it tomorrow night in Detroit.