PITTSBURGH – It was two seasons in the making, but Brandon Carlo finally felt what it was like to score a goal once again.
After zero goals last season for the 6-foot-5 defenseman, it took until the 32nd game of the season this year for Carlo to score in Boston’s 5-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paint Arena. The score snapped a 115-game goal-scoring drought for the young D-man, and certainly brought a smile to his face after the game was over.
“It had been a long while. But I feel the way I’m starting to put the puck on net a little bit more and there were a lot of opportunities to shoot the puck,” said Carlo. “I thought it was going to come eventually, but it felt really good to put that one in the back of the net.
For me I don’t think I’ve always had that shoot mentality, so coach [Kevin Dean] has done a good job of showing me videos in situations where I can shoot and either go down the wall or get to the middle [of the ice]. I’m happy to get the goal. I just wish it had translated into a win tonight.”
It was actually a pretty solid goal as the B’s fourth line battled in front of the Pittsburgh net, and Chris Wagner eventually pushed the puck back to the point where Carlo stepped into a rocket blast toward the net. It went top corner without any doubts and Carlo had his first goal-scoring celebration in a while on a score that got the B's on the board.
Carlo has just a goal and three points in 23 games this season for the B’s as a shutdown defenseman, but he did finish with six goals and 16 points as a rookie a couple of years ago. So there’s belief that the hard, accurate shot and the skating ability should translate into a little bit more offense for the third year D-man.
“I think it’s in him. He’s not a go-to-guy by any means, but I think he’s a guy that’s rangy enough and skates well enough that he’s going to find pucks up top,” said Bruce Cassidy. “He can shoot it fairly accurately when he’s on. Hopefully that’s the monkey off his back and he gets going. I think he had six his first year. There might have been a couple of lucky ones in there if I can remember, but he’s certainly capable of pitching in four, five or six goals [in a season]. So maybe this is the beginning.”
He’s probably never going to run a power play or even get to double-digits in goals, but Carlo can provide a little bit more. But for now the youngster is just happy to be back on the board at all, and ready to supply a little bit more with some newfound offensive confidence to go along with his natural defensive strengths.
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