Bruins

Carlo's first NHL goal helps Bruins to victory in Winnipeg

Carlo's first NHL goal helps Bruins to victory in Winnipeg

Brandon Carlo isn’t going to forget his first NHL game in Winnipeg, and it won’t be for their raucous home crowd or the city’s notoriously nasty winters.

Instead it will forever be the setting for the 19-year-old rookie defenseman’s first NHL goal that served as the important insurance score in Boston’s 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre on Monday night. Carlo pounced on a loose puck at the high slot after Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck poked the puck away from a charging Brad Marchand, and the 6-foot-5 defenseman blasted a shot that rattled off the post before settling in the back of the net.

So now Carlo has both his first career point and his first goal out of the way just three games into his NHL career, and was just happy that his first score served an important purpose in a win for his hockey team.

“I kinda blanked out there, I guess you could say,” said Carlo to reporters in Winnipeg. “I was really excited to get that opportunity there in the slot and put it in the back of the net. That definitely kind of sealed the game and I was really excited to get the ‘W’ out of this.”

More impressive than scoring his first NHL goal is the overall job that Carlo is doing this season with just eight games of NHL experience on his resume. The 2015 second round pick now leads all NHL rookies with a plus-7 rating on the season after a plus-3 in the Monday night win, and he skated a career-high 24:50 of ice time while serving as a shutdown defenseman with Zdeno Chara against the Jets best offensive players. It’s only three games, obviously, but it’s clear that both Carlo belongs in the NHL despite his inexperience and that he already represents an upgrade over some of the options Boston rolled out on their back end last year.

“The key word is first goal. As an NHLer, the quicker you get that off your back the better it is. You won’t be feeling the pressure anymore of looking for that first one,” Julien said to reporters in Winnipeg. “It was a really important goal, and it was nice to see him do that. He’s played against top lines since the start of the season, and for a young player to do that he’s shown a lot of poise.”

The rare poise from such a young defenseman is exactly why Carlo is going to stick with the B’s even after their veteran blueliners return from injury, and mobility, puck-moving abilities and offensive upside make him a better option than others on the organizational depth chart. It’s only three games into his NHL career, of course, and there are still hurdles to climb and tests to pass before Carlo is the kind of player that will be blindly counted on to serve as a trusted top-pairing, shutdown guy.

But at this early date it’s already clear that Carlo is a keeper for the Black and Gold, and they have no business taking him out of the lineup for any reasons for the foreseeable future. 

Talking Points: Rask's first period doesn't give B's a chance to win

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Talking Points: Rask's first period doesn't give B's a chance to win

The Bruins' Western Canada road trip got off to an uninspiring start Wednesday night in Calgary. Here are my talking points from the Bruins' 5-2 loss to the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome:

GOLD STAR: It’s got to be Micheal Frolik with two of the first four goals scored for the Flames early in the game when they took full control of the proceedings. Frolik scored the first goal at the end of a beautiful passing play where he was open at the front of the net, and then he connected with Michael Backlund on another score that gave Calgary some breathing room in the second period. In all Frolik finished with the two goals and a plus-3 rating in 16:07 of ice time, and three shots on net, one hit, one takeaway and a perfect 2-for-2 in the face-off circle. It was a nice turnaround for Frolik after he was a recent healthy scratch for the Flames, and exactly the kind of response that a coach is looking for from a player.

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BLACK EYE: Tuukka Rask can ill afford one bad goal in a game, and he had two bad goals allowed in the first period that really sunk the Bruins in this one. The first Calgary goal was a nice piece of passing that ended with an open shot in front, so there wasn’t much blame on that one. But Rask had an awful rebound on a Noah Hanifin tester that turned into a Johnny Gaudreau goal, and then seconds later he completely fumbled away a Juuso Valimaki point shot that he just plain missed with his glove hand. Those two soft goals put the Bruins down 3-0 in the first period, and essentially served as the difference in the game ,as the Bruins were down by two goals in the third period before the late empty netter made the 5-2 final score. Rask allowed four goals on 28 shots in total and was better later in the game, but he didn’t give the team a chance with the way he played in the first.

TURNING POINT: The turning point was the two Calgary goals scored within 48 seconds of each other in the first period when Tuukka Rask had a mini-meltdown in the middle of the game. Johnny Gaudreau scored his 100th career NHL goal after Rask gave up a juicy rebound in front of his own net, and then less than a minute later Rask whiffed on a Juuso Valimaki point shot that turned into that player’s first NHL goal. Once that flurry was over the Bruins were down by a 3-0 score and really didn’t have any chance of winning the game despite scoring a few goals and at least making a competitive game out of it. For all intents and purposes, the game was over after those two goals and the biggest surprise was that Rask didn’t get pulled out of the game at that point.  

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Highlights from Bruins' 5-2 loss to Flames

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Highlights from Bruins' 5-2 loss to Flames

FINAL SCORE: Flames 5, Bruins 2

IN BRIEF: Michael Frolik scored two goals to lead the Calgary Flames, who led 3-0 after 16 minutes and never looked back en route to a 5-2 victory. Patrice Bergeron was brilliant in the second period, having a hand in both of Boston's goals. BOX SCORE 

THREE STARS
1
- Michael Frolik, Calgary (2 goals)
2 - Patrice Bergeron, Boston (1 goal, 1 assist)
3 - Jusso Valimaki, Calgary (1 goal)

HAGGERTY: Rask's first period doesn't give Bruins a chance to win

OUT OF THE BOX, INTO THE SPIN CYCLE

BERGY’S SIXTH SENSE

TIC . . . TAC . . . TOE . . . OH NO

FLAMES’ GAUDREAU REACHES MILESTONE

UP NEXT

THURSDAY: At Edmonton, 9 p.m. ET (NESN)
SATURDAY: At Vancouver, 10 p.m. ET (NESN)
TUESDAY: At Ottawa, 7:30 p.m. ET (NESN)

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE