April 23rd, 2014 by

Bruins’ youngsters providing secondary scoring

Bruins’ youngsters providing secondary scoring

Jarome Iginla and Patrice Bergeron tied for the team lead in scoring during the 2013-14 season with 30 goals. Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic each had 20 goals during the 82-game slate. David Krejci led the B’s in points with 69.

Krejci, Iginla, Bergeron, Marchand and Lucic were each supposed to carry over their regular season success into the first round against the Detroit Red Wings. That has hardly been the case through the first three games as they’ve only combined for six points (two goals, four assists). Lucic, Bergeron and Smith are the only three of that bunch who tallied goals, while Iginla has dished out a pair of assists and Krejci has been held scoreless.

Despite that, the Bruins have a two games to one series lead on the team from “Hockey Town.” They’ve gotten great goaltending from Tuukka Rask, a stifling blue-line and outstanding special teams play. With the big guns held at bay, the B’s have also gotten a spark from some unlikely sources.

With injuries to Daniel Paille (concussion-like symptoms) and Chris Kelly (back), head coach Claude Julien needed another set of secondary scorers to fill their places while they heal. What he’s gotten is a big body in Justin Florek, whose gift-wrapped goal in Game 2 gave the momentum to the Black and Gold after a Game 1 loss, and some surprising production from Jordan Caron, who scored his first goal since October 5 on Tuesday night.

And then there’s Dougie Hamilton, whose highlight-reel goal in Game 3 is still a hot topic of discussion in The Hub of Hockey.

The trio of Hamilton, Caron and Florek have played in 18 playoff games. But from the way they’re playing, they’re looking more like veterans instead of a couple of youngsters entering the spotlight.

“I think just more experience and being more comfortable with everything and kind of playing more consistently night in and night out,” Hamilton said about playing in the postseason in his second year. “It makes it a lot easier and a lot more fun as well.”

Certainly, Hamilton was expected to be in the Bruins’ lineup for the playoffs. Florek was unexpectedly put in the lineup but is making the most of it.

Caron, on the other hand is the team’s 13th forward, a position where many spend nights watching high above ice in the press box. When given the chance, that 13th forward is expected to make some sort of impact.

Caron’s struggles in the regular season are well documented. But those concerns have been put to rest for the time being thanks to his contribution on the fourth line.

“They told me I was going to be the 13th forward, so I knew what to expect, and I kept working hard all year,” Caron said after the Game 3 victory. “Right now I get to play in the playoffs and it’s pretty exciting. I’m really happy to be playing right now.”

The success has come at a good time for Caron, Hamilton, Florek and Reilly Smith (another 20-goal scorer in 2013-14) as each tallied their first career playoff goals in the last two games. As the playoffs roll along, they’ll need a lot more from the youngsters.

“You need guys to step up and [score] big goals at different times,” Lucic told reporters after Wednesday’s practice at Joe Louis Arena. “So far, even with Reilly and Dougie and Jordy [Caron] and Florek have scored big goals, and we’re going to need that moving forward.”

Ideally, Julien will want to get the veterans contributing in the scoring department. But for the time being, these kids are alright.

Still, despite the injuries, the depth of this Bruins continues to a be strength of this team.

“Our second home game was a big boost just to get started and get things rolling and Jordy’s goal was a huge goal,” Iginla said. “Our defenseman and our young guys have had to step in for a lot of minutes and have played for us all season. They’ve played well, and you can see them getting better and better. They’re confidence is high as it should be, and that’s carrying over from the regular season.”

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