Bruins

20 Under 25: Look closely, and you'll see Brandon Carlo's value to Bruins

20 Under 25: Look closely, and you'll see Brandon Carlo's value to Bruins

There’s a good chance you’re going to hear “unsung hero” from time to time in Brandon Carlo’s career. It’s certainly a label that was befitting of him in the Bruins' run to the Stanley Cup Final, when he was third on the team in time on ice.

So, why would a second-round pick who’s been nothing but solid three years into his career be “unsung?” Well, he’s on a blue-line that has one of the greatest ever at the position and two of the best offensive defensemen in the league. With all the attention garnered by Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy, it’s easy to let the smooth-skating but offensively limited Carlo slip under the radar.

Watch the games, however, and Carlo’s impact is unmistakable. One of the biggest takeaways for the Canadian media in Boston’s first-round dismissal of the Maple Leafs was just how reliable a defender Carlo had become. It was Carlo’s first postseason experience, as injuries kept him out of the playoffs in his first two seasons.

Carlo was drafted at a time when the Bruins were in dire need of young defensemen. They’d just traded Dougie Hamilton, were months away from dealing Johnny Boychuk and didn’t have any top prospects at the position. He’s blossomed into just the top-four defender they needed. McAvoy’s presence means he doesn’t need to be a top-pair player (they both play the right side), but Carlo could become one of the better shutdown defenders in the league. 

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Bruins' Tuukka Rask jokes about Game 7 loss after TD Garden lights go out

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Bruins' Tuukka Rask jokes about Game 7 loss after TD Garden lights go out

A four-goal lead in the third period is supposed to be safe, right? 

The Bruins found out that wasn't the case Tuesday night, as they suffered an unprecedented collapse against the Panthers, allowing four goals in the third — including the game-tying goal with just 1:39 to play — before losing in a shootout for their fourth straight defeat.

It's only the ninth time in NHL history that a team lost after blowing a four-goal third-period lead at home, and it's the first time the Bruins have ever lost in such a fashion.

While it was a brutal loss, it wasn't as awful as Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, but Tuukka Rask still managed to evoke that memory in jest after the game.

When asked about a second period incident in which the TD Garden lights briefly went out while the Panthers were attacking on the power play, Rask mustered up some humor.

“That should’ve happened in Game 7 of the Final,” Rask said with a laugh. “That’s never happened. First time today, I guess. It was weird.”

While the line was a moment of levity after a heartbreaking defeat, there's nothing funny about how Rask and the Bruins are playing lately. They're mired in their longest losing streak since getting bounced out of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and Rask has lost three straight starts with a 3.92 GAA and .868 save percentage.

Their next chance to snap out of it comes Friday night against the Maple Leafs.

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Joe Haggerty's Talking Points from Bruins' 5-4 shootout loss to the Panthers: Rough night for Tuukka Rask

Joe Haggerty's Talking Points from Bruins' 5-4 shootout loss to the Panthers: Rough night for Tuukka Rask

GOLD STAR: Keith Yandle has enjoyed games at both ends of the spectrum against his hometown Bruins team and he had a spectacular effort against the Black and Gold on Tuesday night. Yandle jumped up to score the tying goal with 1:29 left in the third period and finished with a goal and three points along with a plus-1 rating in a team-leading 25:48 of ice time while spearheading the third-period comeback for Florida. Yandle also finished with five shot attempts and four blocked shots in a gutsy win for Florida. His celebration after his tying goal said it all for a kid playing with a group of local hockey players on the Panthers roster.

BLACK EYE: Tuukka Rask coughed up four goals on 12 shots in the third period and was one of the main culprits behind a collapse of epic proportions. The first goal allowed came less than a minute into the third and that allowed the Panthers to start gathering some momentum. Rask then allowed a third goal that was as leaky as they come. Mike Hoffman tucked it inside the short-side post when he was late covering the crease. That makes two rough games for Rask in his past three and a big, big role for the Bruins goaltender in a pair of bad divisional losses to the Canadiens and the Panthers.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins were up by four goals and had limited the Panthers to just 12 shots on net in the first two periods, so nobody could have predicted what was going to happen to them in the final 20 minutes. The Bruins totally caved in while allowing four unanswered goals and were outshot 12-9 while taking a pair of penalties that allowed the Panthers to get some life on the power play. The entire third period was a problem for the Black and Gold where Florida kept gathering momentum and the Bruins could do little to stop things whether by scoring another goal or by Rask stepping up and making some key saves. Instead, the Bruins folded and then predictably lost in the shootout as they have a couple of times this season. The result was a fourth consecutive loss. 

HONORABLE MENTION: David Pastrnak brought his A-game to the table on Tuesday night even if many of his teammates didn’t. The 23-year-old scored his 16th goal of the season as part of a four-goal barrage in the second period. He also registered a game-high eight shots on net in his 21:55 of ice time. Pastrnak finished with 11 shot attempts and was okay even after he got clocked with a careless elbow from Vincent Trocheck that elicited a quick response from Brad Marchand sticking up for his linemate in the third period. Unfortunately for Pastrnak and the Bruins, the B’s explosive winger was never chosen to take part in the shootout after. Bruce Cassidy opted for Chris Wagner and Charlie McAvoy among his four shooters instead of No. 88.

BY THE NUMBERS: 9 – The number of road teams that have come back from a four-goal deficit in the third period in NHL history. Home or road, it's only happened 19 times. 

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's on us. We played solid hockey in the first two periods and made some strong plays. Obviously, in the third period, we gave them too much space and time. We need to look at it and we need to play the same way for 60 minutes.” –Zdeno Chara, on the Bruins blowing a four-goal lead in the third period en route to the 5-4 shootout loss.

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