The Boston Bruins have been full throttle since returning from their nine-day All-Star and bye-week break going 4-0-0 and extending their overall win streak to five games. One of the keys to their success during this hot stretch has been their stingy defense as the Bruins have only allowed three goals in their last four games. Of course, Tuukka Rask and Jaro Halak have a lot to do with that, but the Bruins have protected the house from the blue line in. On Saturday, when they host the Arizona Coyotes in a 3 PM matinee at TD Garden they will have to do so without their best shutdown defenseman this season, Brandon Carlo who had to return home for family reasons.
“He’s got a personal day for family matters. [Carlo] went home and he won’t play [against the Coyotes],” head coach Bruce Cassidy told the media Friday. “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.”
This will be the first game Carlo has missed all season. The 23-year-old rearguard has four goals and 17 points in 55 games with a plus-17 rating and is averaging 20:37 of ice time. With Carlo out of the lineup, veteran blueliner John Moore will drawback in after being a healthy scratch for the last five games. Moore has two goals and one assist in nineteen games and is a minus-1. Moore will be slotted in next to Carlo’s regular partner, Torey Krug.
“We’re gonna start that way. It’s the easiest switch,” said Cassidy. “We like the way [Matt Grzelcyk] has played with [Jeremy] Lauzon, obviously Charlie [McAvoy] and [Zdeno Chara] will stay together. It’s kind of the easiest thing to do. If it’s not working out, then we’ll have to make some adjustments on the fly.”
Here’s what the defense should look like Saturday against the Coyotes:
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Jeremy Lauzon