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Carlo Helps Backstop B's to Victory

Rask grabs win in Ottawa; Vaakanainen out with concussion

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins /

OTTAWA - Brandon Carlo was looking for a bounce back.

Despite a strong first game as Zdeno Chara's partner on Saturday night in Vancouver, the third-year blue liner found himself on the ice for the Canucks' overtime winner - a play he admitted he'd like to have back.

But he made up for it - and then some - on Tuesday night in Ottawa.

The 21-year-old gobbled up a monster 28:28 of ice time - to lead all skaters - while also using his stick to swat away two sure goals from the net during Boston's 4-1 win over the Senators.

"I'm not gonna dwell on the negative," said Carlo. "That's something I'm working on this year is just continue to stay positive and I think you can see it in my game. It's building more confidence within myself. Just going out there and having fun.

"It's a great group of guys to play with. When I'm moving my feet with confidence, they like that better because I'll start to make plays for them, rather than when I'm gripping my stick…I feel like it's working so far."

Video: Carlo talks big saves

Since an injury sidelined Charlie McAvoy following the Bruins' loss in Edmonton, Carlo has been alongside Chara on Boston's top pairing - reuniting a duo that proved to be a stellar shutdown force during Carlo's rookie season in 2016-17.

"We have a really good dynamic," said Carlo, who also landed a game-high four hits and played nearly six minutes on the penalty kill. "We talk to each other on the ice. I feel like I can recognize his voice so well on the ice, so that helps me a lot. He has so much experience in the league. When I come back to the bench, he'll just spitball different things at me and I'm very open to listening to him."

Perhaps Carlo's most impressive achievements on the night came in the crease. Early in the first period with the Senators on the power play, a shot trickled through Tuukka Rask, but Carlo was there to sweep it off the goal line.

And then in the third period, Carlo was at it again. With Rask out of the crease to play a loose puck, Carlo raced back into the zone on the backcheck. When an Ottawa shot deflected off of Rask at the right circle, Carlo was there to swat it away from the net.

"Yeah, baseball kicked in from when I was 12 years old," said Carlo. "Just found myself in the right position. It was fun…my job is to keep pucks out of the net and I'm gonna do that to the best of my ability. I felt like I saw that [second one] going in, so I just started going at it and got lucky."

Video: BOS@OTT: Carlo helps Rask at the goal line

Rask was certainly appreciative of his efforts.

"I'm happy for him," said Rask. "I just told him, now he's gonna be in the highlight of the day instead of the not-so-highlight of the day a couple games ago when he missed the empty net. Those plays come and go, but it was great to see. Sometimes you need help from posts or somebody else. I owe him dinner for sure."

After a bit of a dip during his sophomore season, Carlo is beginning to emerge again as one of Boston's most important shutdown blue liners. And that is earning him trust from the coaching staff.

"He was unbelievable with his stick, what a job," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "He got to play a little bit more on the kill with Zee in the box. Lose a D [when Urho Vaakanainen got hurt]. Really good bounce back game for him after a little boo-boo in Vancouver.

"He came back, played hard, played strong with the puck. We like Brandon a lot and saw some maturity there."

Video: Pastrnak, Rask help Bruins top Senators, 4-1

Rask Returns

Carlo wasn't the only one keeping the puck out of the net on Tuesday night. Rask returned between the pipes and made 38 saves for his third win of the season.

"I thought we defended the front of the net very good," said Rask. "There were some rebounds, especially in the first period, guys did a great job clearing them out."

Rask had not started since Boston's loss to Calgary last Wednesday, with Cassidy opting to start Jaroslav Halak for two straight games so Rask could have some extra practice time to work on his game.

"He wasn't at the standard we're all used to," Cassidy said of Rask's start to the season. "I think he'd be the first to admit that. I thought he was real good tonight tracking pucks, rebound control was good. There was a lot of stuff coming around the net; killing five penalties, that's taxing as well physically.

"I thought he did a real good job staying in the game and finding pucks all night. I'm happy for him, he needed a good, solid win and he got it. Hopefully he builds off it."

Video: Rask reflects on 38-save performance

Urho Out

Just four-plus periods into his NHL career, Vaakanainen has been sidelined by a concussion. The 19-year-old blue liner was charging hard to the Ottawa net during the first period when he took an elbow to the head from Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki. Vaakanainen left the game and did not return.

The NHL Department of Player Safety tweeted on Wednesday that Borowiecki would have a hearing.

"[The league will] look at it. It's a flying elbow," said Cassidy. "Listen, I'm not in the heat of the battle. It looked fairly deliberate, he saw the player coming. But that's not for me to decide. It's unfortunate for Urho because he's concussed. But at the end of the day that will move up the food chain and someone will have to make a decision whether it's suspendible or not."

Already down Torey Krug (ankle), Charlie McAvoy (undisclosed), and Kevan Miller (hand), the Bruins will likely turn to Providence for reinforcements.

"I don't believe Kevan Miller will be available Thursday, Charlie I don't think either from what I'm hearing. Krug skated, too soon for him," said Cassidy. "We'll have to look at Providence, see what's the best fit for us, who's playing well down there and go from there.

"[Cody] Goloubef is a veteran guy there, he comes to mind; he's a right shot, so balance out the let and the right. [Matt Grzelcyk] and [John] Moore together, it's lefties. So if it's someone to play with [Steven] Kampfer that's a left stick, if it's Chris Breen that's played well, or [Jakub] Zboril, [Jeremy] Lauzon, whoever it happens to be.

"Their job will be to come up and probably play 12-15 minutes on Thursday and do a good job."

Video: Cassidy discusses teams effort in 4-1 win

Marchand Drops 'Em

Brad Marchand dropped the gloves against the Senators, marking his second fight of the young season. It is the first time Marchand has registered multiple fights in one season since the 2011-12 campaign. Prior to his fight on Opening Night in Washington, the winger had not fought since Dec. 2015.

On Tuesday night, Marchand was not pleased with Zack Smith's heavy hit on Grzelcyk in the corner and challenged Smith for what turned out to be a brief, but spirited, bout.

"We stick up for one another in here, that's all it was," said Marchand. "It was nothing more than I didn't like the hit on Grizzy. That's what we do in here."

Opposing View

The Bruins return home on Thursday night for their first meeting of the regular season against the Philadelphia Flyers. Philadelphia, off to a 4-5-0 start this season, is coming off a 4-1 loss to Colorado on Monday.

The Flyers are led offensively by Jakub Voracek (12 points), Claude Giroux (11 points), and Wayne Simmonds (6 goals). Goaltender Brian Elliott has struggled to his point, posting a 2-4-0 record with a 3.59 goals against average and .882 save percentage.

Thursday night's game will also celebrate Hockey Fights Cancer at TD Garden.

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