By: Andrew Parker
The NHL regular season has come to an end, and the Bruins are back in the playoffs facing off against a pretty familiar foe in the Toronto Maple Leafs. We saw the Bruins and Leafs go seven tough games last year, so nobody would be surprised if the same thing happened once again here in 2019.
There is one major factor in this year’s playoffs that was not in the mix last postseason.
A healthy Brandon Carlo.
Carlo has missed the playoffs his first two seasons due to serious injury. We saw Carlo fracture his leg shortly before the playoffs were set to begin last season. This was a huge disappointment for fans just a month before the playoffs started. It gave the Bruins huge uncertainty on such a short notice with no viable backup option.
In Carlo’s absence, the Bruins turned to rookie Matt Grzelcyk. The rookie looked a bit overwhelmed against both the Leafs and Lightning and their highly skilled forwards. We also saw a Nick Holden sighting last postseason. I am sure the Bruins were not hoping to have to turn to him at any point last year. With a healthy Carlo, the defensive pairings are more stable, especially in the top four.
Having Carlo in the top four gives you two above average D-pairs. When Toronto throws two solid top lines against Boston, the Bruins are prepared with two top pairings to lock them down. With Kevan Miller and John Moore both out, Brandon Carlo is the key cog in this well-oiled machine we have watched all year long. I will be looking for Carlo to be the big missing piece the Bruins were looking for on defense last postseason.
Cover photo via: NHL.com
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