Talking Points: Chara can't shield Carlo from rough night
Patrick Maroon might have been one of the least likely players to leave TD Garden on Thursday night with a hat trick, but that’s exactly what happened with Maroon scoring three of Edmonton’s four goals on the evening. Maroon finished with a plus-3 rating and a fight with Zdeno Chara as the cherry on top of the sundae, and had six shot attempts, a hit, a takeaway and a blocked shot to go along with his offensive exploits. Give Maroon credit for maximizing his chances skating with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and for those two players knowing how to put a rugged winger into positions where he could succeed. He was a very noticeable player with or without the puck on his stick on Thursday night.
Give Zdeno Chara credit for standing up and challenging Patrick Maroon to a fight in the first period when he felt the Bruins needed an emotional charge. It was the right move and the exact right time, and his team responded for most of the next 40 minutes. But he hasn’t been able to shield rookie Brandon Carlo as effectively lately, and the 20-year-old defenseman had another rough night in the first real patch of his NHL career. He was among the players beaten by a Connor McDavid backhand saucer pass in the first period, and then couldn’t stop Ryan Nugent-Hopkins from crashing the net just seconds into the third period as well. Those were two key goals against, the difference between a win and a loss in a one-goal game. Carlo is a minus-10 in his last 15 games with the Bruins, and it’s clear he’s (totally understandably) hit a bit of a wall in his first year.
The Bruins had entered the second intermission tied at a 2-2 score, and had outshot the Oilers by a 15-9 advantage in the middle 20 minutes as well. So the B’s looked like they were in pretty good shape with 20 minutes to go, and their bad goal right out of the gate already out of the way courtesy of the first period. But they pulled the same stunt in the third period as well giving up a goal on the very first shift out of the intermission with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins crashing the net before a puck bounced off him and into the net. The go-ahead Edmonton goal stunned the Bruins for much of the third period, and it was too late when they finally got their bearings late in the game.
Colin Miller was excellent in this game, and just keeps getting better and better. He finished with 21:51 of ice time, scored the first goal of the game for the Bruins that was, at the time, a very big answer on Boston’s part. He finished with eight shot attempts, three registered hits, a takeaway and two blocked shots and played the perfect puck-moving defenseman game while not allowing himself to get caught too much in the defensive zone. He was on the ice for Patrick Maroon’s game-winner, but that appeared to be a Torey Krug faux pas rather than anything Miller did to botch the play. Tonight was a season-high in ice time for Miller, and with good reason the way he played with aggression and assertiveness.
BY THE NUMBES
10 – the number of losses for the Bruins in their last 15 games as they continue to be stuck in a month-long funk that they can’t get out of.
QUOTE TO NOTE
“It was a night where it was dedicated to Milt [Schmidt] and what he has done. I felt that we let him and obviously his family, including the fans, down.” – Zdeno Chara, talking about a disappointing loss on the night they remembered Milt Schmidt one day after his passing.