BOSTON -- Claude Julien didn’t want to get into it following another disappointing loss, but it’s pretty apparent Brandon Carlo has smacked into the NHL rookie wall.
Carlo was on the ice for each of the damaging two goals scored against the Bruins in the opening seconds of the first and third periods, and in both cases couldn’t do enough to shut off Edmonton players attacking the net in the 4-2 loss for the Bruins at TD Garden. In both instances it looked like the share speed of the Oilers attack put Carlo on his heels a little bit, and created defensive vulnerabilities in front of the net.
There have been more instances of that in the last month for the 20-year-old Carlo as the heaviness of the NHL regular season schedule makes an impact on a young player, and the size and strength of opponents he’s constantly battling begins to make an impact as well.
Carlo has been a minus-10 over his last 15 games dating back to a rough night in Washington against the Capitals on Dec. 7, and said there are times when he feels like it’s been a bit of an uphill battle for him lately.
“Occasionally. I feel like pucks definitely aren’t bouncing my way as much as they were in the beginning of the year,” said Carlo, who was down to 16 minutes of ice time in the Thursday night loss to a fast, skilled Oilers bunch. “But that’s something that I just need to continue with, keeping it simple and moving the puck. I’m just trying to keep my gaps up and go through every game and know that I worked my hardest out there.
“[The Oilers] are a fast team. Coming right out of the gate, they were really fast that first shift. I felt like I wasn’t in terrible position, but unfortunately I didn’t get my stick on that one.”
It’s not exactly shocking that a young player in a prime shutdown pairing position would hit a rough patch in his rookie season, and it’s something the Bruins must have expected at some point as the dog days of the NHL regular season schedule approached. But it doesn’t make it any easier for a Black and Gold club desperate for wins and points while relying on Carlo to keep playing the rock-solid, poised game that he’s already shown he’s capable of doing at the NHL level.
BOSTON – The Bruins should have their heads held high because they battled valiantly before falling to the Senators in Game 6.
Ultimately the B’s couldn’t pull off any more overtime magic and a Clarke MacArthur power play goal 6:30 into overtime gave Ottawa a 3-2 win in the extra session at TD Garden, and handed the Senators a 4-2 win in the best-of-seven playoff series to advance to a second round match-up with the New York Rangers. A David Pastrnak holding call after hauling down MacArthur set up the OT power play for Ottawa and ultimately became Boston’s undoing.
The Bruins struck first in the opening period after killing off three different delay of game penalties for B’s players flinging the puck over the glass into the stands, and then scored on their first power play of the first. Drew Stafford played a two-man game with Brad Marchand at the high point and then smoked a one-timer under the bar from the right circle to get things going.
Ottawa stormed back in the second period with two goals of their own: Bobby Ryan tipped home a Derick Brassard point blast on the power play for his fourth goal of the series, and Kyle Turris snapped one home from the high slot after a turnover deep in Boston’s zone by Stafford. The PP goal was particularly frustrating as it came on a leg check call on Charlie McAvoy after two B’s players had been taken out (Colin Miller, David Krejci) on uncalled Ottawa leg checks earlier in the series.
The B’s tied it up in the third period on a bad line change from the Sens with Boston’s best offensive players on the ice. Colin Miller worked it up quickly to Marchand, who fired one at the net that Craig Anderson stopped initially before not being able to hold back Patrice Bergeron crashing the net for the rebound score.
BOSTON -- The Bruins won’t have David Krejci (lower body) in the lineup for Game 6 as they look to stay alive in their first-round series against the Ottawa Senators.
Krejci was knocked out of Friday night’s Game 5 double-overtime win after a knee-on-knee hit from Chris Wideman in the first period that set off the Bruins when the Ottawa D-man reportedly chirped the injured Bruins center.
With Krejci out, one might have expected Ryan Spooner to replace him given Spooner’s power-play capabilities and his offensive upside in a top-6 role. But Bruce Cassidy will go with Matt Beleskey while moving around some of the pieces in his lineup. Beleskey hasn’t played since taking a couple of penalties in the Game 2 loss to the Sens in Ottawa, but the hope is that his heavy forechecking ability can have the same kind of impact Sean Kuraly had Friday night.
“Beleskey will go in and we’ll move some things around,” said Cassidy. “It’s become much more of a down-low grind game offensively for us, and that’s his strength. He can get on people, get on pucks, win battles and get to the net. So he should be afforded an opportunity to play to his strength. This is going to be less of a line-rush game, so now the people that are going in are more suited to that: [Noel] Acciari, Kuraly and Beleskey.”
It could also benefit the Bruins from a veteran experience perspective as well as Beleskey has a well-established big game reputation during his playoff stints with Anaheim. He popped in eight goals during a 16-game postseason stint with the Ducks just prior to signing a big free-agent deal with the Bruins two seasons ago.