Why Bruins Altered Defensive Pairings, Put Brandon Carlo With Zdeno Chara Vs. Kings

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December 18, 2019

Memories of 2016-17 were floating in TD Garden on Tuesday night.

In a move seldom used since a few seasons ago, Boston Bruins head coach bumped Brandon Carlo up to the top pairing with Zdeno Chara in the host’s eventual overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings.

Carlo was a mainstay on the top pairing in his rookie season, but Charlie McAvoy bursting onto the scene changed things up, putting Carlo with Torey Krug on the second unit almost exclusively since — save for extenuating circumstances like injuries. But after starting with the usual duos at the blue line, Cassidy in the second period changed things up, with McAvoy and Krug skating together and Carlo with Chara.

“We move Carlo sometimes with Zee, that?s more against (Anze) Kopitar, bigger, frees Charlie up to be a little more on the attack,” Cassidy said. “We will do that going forward, have done it for the past few weeks a little bit here and there. They?ve played together, those two, and have enjoyed that part of it. Like I said, allows Charlie some shifts where he maybe gets going a little bit on the offensive side of things.”

It seems unlikely Cassidy will roll out those pairings with any sort of regularity, largely because the Carlo-Krug combination has worked out so well. McAvoy, though it wasn’t reflected on the scoresheet, did get going on the offensive end, posting a team-high six shots on net, so you could say Cassidy’s move technically worked.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images.
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