The Boston Bruins have not lacked for goal-scoring this season while ranking first or second pretty much all season among the league’s top offensive groups.
Still, Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery has been lobbying, cajoling and trying to coax more offense out of his defensemen as they join the rush with greater frequency this season, and he got it in a big way in Boston’s 7-3 win over the Florida Panthers at TD Garden on Monday night.
The Black and Gold got two goals from Bruins D-men in the win, including stay-at-home defenseman Brandon Carlo’s first goal of the season making him the 21st different player to score a goal for the Boston Bruins this season. It was Carlo’s first goal in 44 games dating back to last season and an encouraging sign that some of the things that the B’s coaching staff has been preaching is bringing just a little bit more out of the 6-foot-5 defenseman.
Certainly it was a textbook offensive play for the Bruins with Brad Marchand finding Carlo as the trailer while Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk occupied defenders with their net drive as the play got going behind them.
Brandon Carlo – offensive defenseman.
Carlo's first goal of the season gives Boston a 2-0 lead. pic.twitter.com/d4jLlmEaQK
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) December 20, 2022
“I think he’s been jumping into the right holes offensively, coming out of D-zone, through the neutral zone, and in the offensive zone, especially,” said Montgomery of Carlo, who finished Monday night with his first multi-point game of the season. “And he’s had a lot of opportunities and it was great to see him get rewarded…great pass by Brad Marchand.”
“I think he’s been awesome [defensively]. I think in the last 10-15 games, Brandon Carlo has been playing great hockey. He unfortunately got hurt there early in the year and it took him a couple games to get back into rhythm, but, man, he’s been really, really good for us.”
Certainly, it was a great goal for Carlo as he was the trailer sniping one past the glove hand on a feed from Brad Marchand that helped the B’s jump out to a 2-0 lead late in the first period. The lamp-lighter also gives every regular in a Boston Bruins uniform a goal this season as they continue to enjoy lineup depth like they haven’t before in previous recent seasons.
Carlo now has a goal and six points in 27 games while averaging 18:35 of ice time this season, but also boasts a strong plus-15 that’s good for fourth on the team while focusing on killing plays and killing off penalties. Still, he said he’s had a mental reset offensively over the last couple of months and that’s allowed him to get into the flow of things a little more while still very clearly thinking defense-first when he’s on the ice.
“I feel like there’s been a lot of opportunities in the offensive zone for all of us defensemen,” said Carlo, who last scored a goal April 5 last season in a loss to the Detroit Red Wings. “It’s a matter of putting it in the back of the net, but I think with our transition game and things like that, you’ve seen some very good spurts. I feel like it’s faltered a little bit as of late, but that’s something we can continue to grow on. It’s great how we keep finding ways to win.
“It’s something that I haven’t tried to focus on too much of like not having a goal yet throughout this year. I feel like I was just focusing on getting my opportunities each game. I knew it would hopefully come soon and I’m glad it did [on Monday night].”
🎥 Brandon Carlo after scoring his first goal of the season: “Very good. Something that I haven’t tried to focus on too much…I feel like I was just focusing on getting my opportunities each game. I knew it would hopefully come soon and I’m glad it did tonight.” pic.twitter.com/OOMn1gO8s1
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 20, 2022
Nobody is expecting Carlo to suddenly turn into a regular offensive threat from the back end, of course, but Monday night was a reminder that the 26-year-old defenseman can chip in as well while simply playing the role that the Boston Bruins coaching staff envisioned for him when they took over the reins this summer.