DETROIT – Jordan Caron has weathered more than his share of criticism this season as a little-used spare forward for the Boston Bruins. The 23-year-old will always wear the albatross of being a former Boston first round pick, and having never truly lived up to those lofty expectations.
But Caron also ended the 2013-14 season as the only minus player on a team that led the league in goal differential, and that’s not exactly easy to do. He also finished with just one goal and three points in 35 games, and was almost never an impact player when he was pushed into the lineup.
So the criticism was there for Caron during the season, and for the Bruins for failing to strengthen their forward depth headed into the playoffs. The harsh words about Caron certainly weren’t always warranted or justified, but it made his teammates feel a little extra goodness for him when he was able to score a postseason goal.
“Jordan did a great job of driving the net and burying the rebound. A goal is a goal, so we’ll take it,” said Shawn Thornton, who picked up the assist on the score. “It’s not easy being in and out of the lineup, and he’s worked very hard on and off the ice to stay ready when he’s been called upon. I thought these three games he’s played really well for us, he’s been a good fit on our line and he’s a really smart hockey player.
“He’s in the right place at the right time, he’s strong on pucks and he’s been going hard to the net. So it’s been having here [on the Merlot Line] for that first little bit.”
But Caron and the B’s got the last laugh when the 23-year-old scored a first period goal in Boston’s 3-0 win over the Red Wings in Game 3 at the Joe Louis Arena.
It’s part of what’s been a solid three-game stretch for Caron skating in place of the injured Daniel Paille on Boston’s fourth line. This time around Shawn Thornton started the play by rushing down the right wing once he noticed a sloppy Detroit line change leaving him a lane to drive the net.
Thornton fanned on the shot, but he still forced Jimmy Howard into a bad rebound by crashing down hard into the net with a full head of steam. Caron simply followed Thornton to the net and snapped home the easy rebound just sitting in front of Howard’s crease.
Caron was just happy to get a little production going for the B’s fourth line.
“It’s part of the playoffs. Everyone has to chip in offensively. Its playoff hockey,” said Caron. “Everybody is playing really hard, and putting their body on the line. It’s nice when your fourth line can get some offensive rewards like that.
“It felt pretty good to see the [goal] light go on, and everything.”
It may be that Caron’s solid playoff body of work eventually becomes the final memory of the young forward before he moves on to a different team for a possible change of scenery. But for now the 23-year-old is giving the Bruins exactly what they needed as a solid, big body working hard along the boards, and providing a little extra for a Bruins team that could use every little bit right now.