Jordan Caron was taken by Boston with the 25th overall pick in 2009, and went on to play 134 games for the team over a five-year span.
Since getting traded in March, Caron has spent time with the Colorado Avalanche, the AHL’s Chicago Wolves and now, the St. Louis Blues — and tonight, Caron will make his St. Louis debut in a familiar place:
“We really liked him (in training camp),” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Caron, per the Post-Dispatch. “We really liked his strength on the puck. He had a slow start but he’s played great down there lately.
“He deserves a chance to play.”
Caron, 25, was the subject of heavy criticism during his time in Boston, failing to secure a regular place in the lineup despite several chances to do so. After an equally troubling stint with the Avs — Caron went pointless in 19 games last year — there were serious questions about his ability to stick at the NHL level.
But a strong showing with the Wolves has turned things around.
Caron has a team-high nine goals and 14 points through 25 games this year. Tonight, he’ll take Scott Gomez‘s spot in the lineup as the Blues look to rebound from Monday’s loss 4-3 loss in Philly, a game St. Louis led 3-0 after 30 minutes.
The NHL has suspended Boston forward Max Talbot two games for interference on New Jersey’s Jiri Tlusty from Sunday night.
Calling it a “late, violent” hit, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety was harsh in its assessment of Talbot’s decision-making on the play, which occurred midway through the Bruins’ 2-1 shootout win.
“What elevates this to hit to merit supplemental discipline is the extreme lateness and predatory nature of the hit,” the DoPS said. “After releasing the puck, Tlusty looks up and sees Talbot approaching.
“However, only after Tlusty looks back at the puck in the corner does Talbot commit to throwing this hit.”
Talbot, who wasn’t penalized on the play, will miss Boston’s next two games — tomorrow against the Blues, and Saturday against the Sabres. He’ll also forfeit $19,354.84 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Tlusty was shaken up by the hit, but returned to finish with just over 14 minutes of ice time.
“He went through and finished a full check,” Tlusty explained, per the Star-Ledger. “He went through my chest and head. It was a late check, but it’s tough to say anything. I would just say it was too late.”
Another game for the Pittsburgh Penguins with Mike Sullivan behind the bench and another loss.
For the second time this week, the Penguins lost to the Boston Bruins, this time by a final score of 6-2 on Friday.
Boston got a hat trick from Frank Vatrano — the first of his NHL career in just his 17th game — and scored four unanswered goals to completely take the game over, sending the struggling Penguins, once again without goalie Marc-Andre Fleury due to a concussion, to their third straight loss since last weekend’s coaching change.
The night started with positive vibes for the Penguins. Undrafted free agent signing Conor Sheary scored his first NHL goal at the age of 23, burying a pass from Sidney Crosby.
Recently acquired defenseman Trevor Daley scored his first goal as a Penguin.
But seven minutes after Daley scored, the Bruins took back the lead on a Loui Eriksson power play goal in the second period. Patrice Bergeron increased the lead for Boston, and it was the Frank Vatrano Show after that, as he scored twice in three minutes late in the third period to record the hat trick.
The Boston Bruins’ goals-against average has been doing a good impression of the Canadian dollar.
It’s been plummeting.
Last night’s shutout of the Penguins brought it down to 2.63. Still not among the NHL’s best — the official rank is 18th — but for Tuukka Rask, the improvement in front of him has been obvious.
“When we play our system it’s very helpful for a goalie,” Rask told reporters. “It’s so much more coordinated in our own zone now. Guys are not running around.”
Rask has also been better himself, according to coach Claude Julien.
“He’s been the goaltender we all know he can be,” said Julien. “That’s how we felt about him at the beginning (of the season) when he struggled.”
Rask has allowed just two goals in his last four starts. His save percentage has climbed to .917, creeping above the league average .916.
Granted, as a team, the Bruins still aren’t dominating games the way they did when they were considered among the NHL’s elite. They gave up 34 shots to the Penguins last night. They spent much of the game in their own end, especially after taking a 2-0 lead.
That being said, not all shots are created equal, and Rask has liked how the Bruins have been keeping their opponents mostly to the outside.
“They’re going to get shots,” he said. “It’s just a matter of what kind of shots they’re going to get.”
The Bruins’ next game is Friday in Pittsburgh.
Boston could have some added firepower in the lineup for tonight’s Rivalry Night game against Pittsburgh — this morning, the club recalled forward Alex Khokhlachev from AHL Providence.
Khokhlachev, 22, currently leads Providence in assists (14) and points (20) — in just 17 games played. The talented Russian has spent a bit of time up with the parent club this season, and appeared in two games for the B’s.
Khokhlachev is available for selection for tonight’s contest. Yesterday, Boston put Zac Rinaldo on IR with an upper-body injury.
The B’s had an optional skate this morning, so it’s unclear what line he would project to play on — but the last time “Koko” was up, he opened alongside Loui Eriksson and David Krejci.
Related: Khokhlachev to Bruins: Give me a chance