Much has been said of Jordan Caron making the Boston Bruins opening night roster, seeing as how Nick Johnson and Ryan Spooner outplayed him. However, last night, Caron may have finally turned a corner in his disappointing career.
When you look at the stat line, it looks like Caron didn’t really do much (two shots on goal, zero points, plus/minus rating of zero) and he played only 10:21, third fewest among Bruins forwards, but he certainly made the most of those minutes. Head coach Claude Julien stuck Caron on the third line with Chris Kelly and Reilly Smith. That third line last night was absolutely fantastic against the Tampa Bay Lightning with Kelly winning 12 of 17 faceoffs and scoring a penalty shot goal in the first period.
More importantly, Caron and the third line were very aggressive against the Tampa Bay power play. The Lightning went 0-5 on the power play last night and that is no easy feat.
Although Caron recorded zero points, he should have at least had one. In the second period, Caron flew down the left wing, beat a Tampa Bay player to the puck, hustled to the net, shot and keeping poking at the rebound until it finally went past Anders Lindback. It seemed like a coronation for Caron and he seemed like he was going to be a surprise player for the Bruins. His hard work at getting the goal is what the Bruins do best.
Except for one thing, the goal didn’t count.
The referee had waved off the goal. The ref was at an awkward angle and couldn’t see that the puck was still alive and thought Lindback had control. Caron said after the game that he was “jacked up” when the puck went in, so, it had to be a disappointing feeling for Caron to get a goal he worked so hard for waved off.
Although the goal didn’t count, it showed that Caron can be an aggressive player with the puck. The Bruins had waited and waited to see Caron and his ability to drive towards the net and finally saw that, despite the goal being waved off.
Caron also finally showed some kind of spark in his game with his aggressiveness. Caron got into a shoving match against a much heavier Pierre-Cedric Labrie, the same guy would would later drop the gloves with Shawn Thornton. Caron looked like he was about to drop the gloves at one point during last night’s game as well. THIS is the Jordan Caron that the Bruins have been looking for and it now Claude Julien has an issue with the lineup.
The only reason that Caron played in the game and wasn’t a healthy scratch was because Carl Soderberg injured his ankle during the preseason. Caron was going to be the extra forward and be scratched, but he certainly made the most out of his time. Once Soderberg is cleared to play, Julien really has to think about what player to use. Soderberg is eligible to come off of injured reserve on Saturday for the Bruins game with new division rival, the Detroit Red Wings.
Julien was very pleased with Caron’s performance last night saying,
”Jordan and (Reilly) Smith, they really worked hard in the forecheck and made things happen so they were a good line for us tonight. Jordan, I was extremely happy with his game.”
I know it’s only the first game of the season, but Caron showed that he could hang with the Bruins in the NHL and, while not completely shutting up his critics, he at least made his critics lower their voices a little bit.
What do you think of Jordan Caron’s performance last night? Comment below or send me a Tweet, @MarkWGraham