Brandon Carlo

Bruins' Brandon Carlo out vs. Coyotes with 'a family matter'

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Bruins' Brandon Carlo out vs. Coyotes with 'a family matter'

BRIGHTON, Mass. — The Bruins will be without arguably their best all-around defenseman this season as Brandon Carlo is out for Saturday afternoon’s game vs. the Arizona Coyotes with a personal issue.

Carlo is headed to Colorado for “a family matter”, per B’s head coach Bruce Cassidy, and is expected to meet the team in Detroit for Sunday afternoon’s matinee against the Red Wings.

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“He’s got a personal day for family matters. [Carlo] went home and he won’t play [against the Coyotes],” said Cassidy. “We expect him back for Sunday. It’s the easiest switch [to insert John Moore for Carlo]. We love the way [Matt Grzelcyk] has played with [Jeremy] Lauzon and obviously Charlie [McAvoy] and Zee will stay together. It’s the easiest thing to do. If it’s not working out, then we’ll have to make some adjustments on the fly.”

The 23-year-old Carlo has four goals and 17 points in 55 games with a plus-17 rating while averaging 20:37 of ice time in a pivotal shutdown role for the Bruins, and this will be the first game that he’s missed this season. With Carlo out, Moore will enter back into the lineup for the Bruins and skate with Torey Krug on the second pairing after serving as a healthy scratch for the last five games following a rough performance in Pittsburgh where the Bruins blew a three-goal lead against the Penguins.

Otherwise, Joakim Nordstrom remains out with a condition caused by an allergy issue and Connor Clifton skated with a no-contact jersey for the first time while earmarked for a mid-February return to the lineup. Tuukka Rask is slated to get the start against the Coyotes on Saturday and that makes Jaroslav Halak in line to get the nod against the Red Wings in Detroit on Sunday.

Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings against the Coyotes based on Friday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena:

PROJECTED LINES

Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk David Krejci Karson Kuhlman
Sean Kuraly Charlie Coyle Anders Bjork
Anton Blidh Par Lindholm Chris Wagner

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS 

Zdeno Chara Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug John Moore
Matt Grzelcyk Jeremy Lauzon

STARTING GOALIE

Tuukka Rask

Bruins show they won't be pushed around in old-school win over Winnipeg

Bruins show they won't be pushed around in old-school win over Winnipeg

Even if the Bruins ultimately lost Friday night in Winnipeg, they showed something that gives a lot of hope for the remaining 30 regular-season games and beyond. 

Ultimately the hockey gods rewarded Boston’s grit, toughness and willingness to play for each other and the Bruins pulled out a 2-1 win over the Jets at the DTS Centre that keeps them five points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. 

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It was a big-boy win in every sense from the Bruins dominating special teams with a couple of power-play goals while holding Winnipeg to an 0-for-6 on its own power play, and ultimately overcoming a 1-0 deficit in their first game back from a 10-day layoff over NHL All-Star weekend and the bye week.

Even better, the Bruins took a one-goal lead a little more than three minutes into the third period and spent the rest of the third playing heavy, committed hockey to protect the lead rather than give it up.

Bruins defensemen were punishing Winnipeg players in the offensive zone, B’s players were paying the price all over the ice and Tuukka Rask was brilliant making 15 saves as the Jets desperately tried to tie the score.

"Part of the message - you talk about teams working on their game - it was definitely about being harder to play against and building these types of games if they're out there for you," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy to reporters in Winnipeg following the game. "It was there, it presented itself. [Zdeno Chara] had a good hit. Charlie has a good, clean hit, they come after him.

"All of a sudden, that changes the complexion of the game. All of a sudden, it's one of those games. Get dragged into the fight, something our team needs, typically responds well."

Brandon Carlo was a wrecking ball on a number of third-period shifts while throwing bodies around in the offensive zone and powerfully clearing bodies out from the front of the net when things started getting a little crowded. 

When Carlo plays with a snarl and a bit of a tough-guy swagger as he did on Friday night and McAvoy throws his weight around as he did against Mark Schiefele, it truly changes the complexion of this Bruins into a team that could be very difficult to play against a few months from now.

Best of all, the Bruins responded overwhelmingly when the Jets turned up the physical heat in the first period. 

David Pastrnak and David Krejci were hit hard early in the first and McAvoy responded by wiping out Schiefele on a clean, punishing hip check as he tried to enter the Boston zone at high speed. McAvoy then dropped the gloves with Neal Pionk, though both players served roughing minors rather than fighting penalties.

That was followed in the second period by three different fights, including Carlo throwing down with Gabriel Bourque behind the play after the Winnipeg skater threw a big hit at Charlie Coyle. The two teams combined for 64 penalty minutes in the second period and the Bruins spent most of the middle 20 minutes killing off one power play after another, but through it all, the B’s scrapped and clawed to keep it tied.

“It was great by our team to show up and stick up for each other and have a game like that,” said Brad Marchand to reporters after he threw down with Nikolaj Ehlers in the second period and then flexed at the Winnipeg winger on his way to the penalty box. “They're a lot of fun to be a part of, especially when we were [shorthanded] for pretty much the entire second period, to be able to pull that off."

In essence, the Bruins were telling Winnipeg they weren’t going to turn the other cheek once the Jets started throwing their weight around, and instead, they threw punches twice as hard back at the oncoming Jets.

It was an important statement that the Bruins weren’t going to pushed around by a bigger, stronger Jets team on Friday night, and it was a just-as-important message to the rest of the NHL that the B's are going to be at top-level intensity for the final 30 games of the regular season with everything on the line.

Clearly, it’s not going to be fight night every night for the Bruins. These examples of old-time hockey have been the exception rather than the rule in today’s NHL. 

Still, the B’s did go from outside the top 10 in fighting majors to sixth overall in the NHL after Marchand, Carlo and Karson Kuhlman all logged fighting majors in the pugilistic affair. And they showed they aren’t going to take any crap from other teams while standing up for themselves and for each other.

Those kinds of things go a long way in a hockey locker room and they speak to a different, focused mindset for the Black and Gold as the sprint portion of the regular season begins with just two full months remaining in the regular season.

 
 

Bruins show physicality that they're going to need in win over Jets

Bruins show physicality that they're going to need in win over Jets

GOLD STAR: Charlie McAvoy didn’t have a point in this game, but he showed how he can impact an intense, physical hockey game at a moment’s notice.

The Bruins were down 1-0 in the first period and Winnipeg had thrown a couple of big hits at the Bruins when McAvoy decided to throw a massive hip check at Mark Schiefele as he entered the offensive zone. It wiped out the Jets star forward and then McAvoy dropped the gloves with Neal Pionk in the immediate aftermath to answer for the hit.

Winnipeg was slapped with extra penalties that put Bruins on the power play and the Bruins scored their tying goal. And that all came as a result of McAvoy throwing that initial big hip check.

McAvoy finished with no shot attempts, two hits and three blocked shots in 25:08 of ice time. He played the kind of gritty, impactful defense that the Bruins are going to need in the second half of the year.

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BLACK EYE: There were black eyes all around with the Bruins and Winnipeg Jets combining for 64 penalty minutes in the second period, six fighting majors and one instigator penalty apiece in the most combative 20 minutes of the season for the Black and Gold.

It was a stark contrast from some of the other games the B’s have played this season where they haven’t responded enough to being pushed around. And it was exactly the kind of performance that Boston needed to show coming out of the break with just 30 games remaining in the season.

McAvoy, Brandon Carlo and Brad Marchand led the way in the physicality and toughness department, and the Bruins need plenty more of it in the next few months.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins killed six Winnipeg power plays in the second period. It seemed like it was a constant parade for the B’s to the penalty box. Some of it was about the Bruins standing up and defending themselves and some of it was about bad calls like the holding whistle against Torey Krug at the end of the second period.

The Jets managed 12 shots on net during these power plays and ace PK defenseman Brandon Carlo was in the box for a couple of those penalty kills, but the Bruins still managed to keep the Jets off the scoreboard on special teams.

Once the Bruins had killed all six of those Winnipeg power plays and still came out of it all tied up 1-1, they paved the way for the winning third period where they secured the two points.

HONORABLE MENTION: As great as the penalty kill was and as impactful as Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo were when it came to winning and losing, big credit needs to go to Tuukka Rask with his 37 saves in his first game back from a concussion.

We all know that Rask is extremely good when he’s well-rested and that was the case after missing the final three games headed into the All-Star break, and then staying off the ice for the 10-day break during NHL All-Star weekend and the bye week as well.

Rask was at his best in the final 40 minutes of the game stopping 26 out of the 26 shots that he faced in a tight game where any misstep could have cost the Bruins the two points. Instead, Rask was perfect and set a good tone to start the second half following the break.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 – the number of fighting majors for the Bruins with Marchand, Carlo and Karson Kuhlman all dropping the gloves to stand up to the Winnipeg Jets and earn the two points.  

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was a physical game. It was fun to jump right back into it. I think we did a really good job at handling that style of play tonight." –Brandon Carlo to reporters in Winnipeg about the gritty, tough win over the Jets.

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