BOSTON - In 72 games last season, Brandon Carlo recorded two goals and eight assists, finishing his third NHL campaign with 10 points.
This year, in only 35 games, the defenseman has already passed that mark.
In Tuesday's game with Los Angeles, Carlo's shot from the boards beat Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick for his third goal and 11th point this season. According to coach Bruce Cassidy, that production could stem from some encouragement courtesy of the coaching staff - but also from Carlo making a conscious effort to improve offensively, too.
"We've always tried to encourage it with Brandon," said Cassidy. "I know when I started as an assistant, I certainly wanted him to. Saw some of it in Providence - or at World Juniors, I think he made some good plays. So, there was something in there. Then he gets gravitated towards that shutdown penalty kill role, and I think his mindset just changed to be a little more guarded in your chance-taking. Now he's trying to build more of that game."
In part, Carlo's offensive efforts are stemming from having time and experience under his belt in the NHL. The 23-year-old, who set career highs during his rookie season in 2016-17 with 6 goals and 16 points, recognizes that he wants to contribute more to the team, and that he can do that by contributing at the offensive end.
"Some of it is he's been in the league a little bit, feels there's more to give. We agree with him," said Cassidy. "Yeah, I think he got fortunate last night, but he did put it on the net. You put the puck on net, sometimes you get those breaks over the course of 82 games, so good for him. I think he's been trying to be involved and keep pucks alive, that's where he can pick up some assists."
Video: LAK@BOS: Carlo rips a shot that finds the twine
Forward Zach Senyshyn was expected to resume practice on Monday after spending a little over a month recovering from a lower-body injury sustained in a game against Florida on Nov. 12, but instead was kept away from the team after feeling under the weather.
That made Wednesday afternoon his official return to practice, skating on an extra line with forward Par Lindholm. It marked Senyshyn's second skate since sustaining the injury, as he spent time recovering in Providence as well.
Naturally, the 22-year-old winger was pretty excited to be back on the ice.
"Oh, it's awesome," said Senyshyn, who has two assists in four games with Boston this season. "It's definitely been a long time coming and it's definitely been nice to finally be back with the guys and be back on the ice."
As of Wednesday, Senyshyn has officially been activated from injured reserve and will return to the P-Bruins. Though there isn't an exact date or plan for when he'll be back in the lineup - either in Providence or Boston - the Ottawa native is focusing on improving and getting better for when that may happen.
"I'm feeling really good," said Senyshyn. "I'm feeling better each day and it's just been great to work with the coaches. We have a great staff here. I feel better and better each day, so I'm getting excited."
Forwards Karson Kuhlman and Anton Blidh, both in maroon non-contact sweaters, took the ice for before practice with skating and skills coach Kim Brandvold.
Video: Locker Room Raw: Zach Senyshyn
Islanders on Deck
The Bruins kicked off their four-game, pre-holiday home stretch on Tuesday with hopes of starting with a win over the Kings, but an overtime goal from Anze Kopitar prevented that from happening. The team is now using that game to focus on improvements for the next three contests of the homestand.
"Obviously we'll keep moving forward," Sean Kuraly said after practice on Wednesday. "You never want to give up points that you think you could have, so that kind of stings a little bit, to give up some points that we feel like we left on the table.
"We played some good hockey and I think we've got a lot of room to grow, worked on some of those things today. We're looking forward to a good Islanders team that we haven't seen yet this year."
Before facing the Nashville Predators on Saturday and Washington Capitals on Monday, the Bruins are hoping to bounce back against a tough New York Islanders squad on Thursday.
The Islanders currently come in at second in the Metropolitan Division with 46 points, trailing Boston by 3 and the league-leading Capitals by 7. Mathew Barzal leads the Isles efforts with 27 points, while three other Islanders - Brock Nelson, Josh Bailey and Anthony Beauvillier - have point totals in the 20s as well.
Using Tuesday's contest to focus on areas of growth, though, the Bruins are hoping to home in on their game for when the Islanders come to town - and return to the way they know they can play the rest of the season, too.
"I think where we were, playing last year in the playoffs, is kind of where we want to get back to, and last spring," said Kuraly. "I think if you saw us play back then, you kind of know where we can get to as a team. I think we've got some room to improve - puck possession, obviously execution and just all of the things that come with playing a little bit better.
"I think we're getting closer there, which is a good sign we're trending in the right direction."
Video: Locker Room Raw: Sean Kuraly
Maintenance for Marchy
Brad Marchand took a maintenance day and did not participate fully in Wednesday morning's skate. As such, the practice lines looked like this:
Danton Heinen - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Brett Ritchie
Anders Bjork - Charlie Coyle - Chris Wagner
Joakim Nordstrom - Sean Kuraly - David Backes
Par Lindholm - Zach Senyshyn
Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk - Connor Clifton/John Moore
Video: Press Room: Bruce Cassidy