For a player who's logged 230 career games up at the NHL level, Brandon Carlo has found himself in some uncharted territory this week.
A stalwart on Boston’s blue line for each of the past three seasons, the 22-year-old defenseman has unfortunately been on the outside looking in at the postseason in each of his first two full campaigns with the B’s — as a concussion in 2016-17 and an ankle fracture in 2017-18 put him on the shelf in the final days leading up to the playoffs.
The 6-foot-5 skater is no stranger when it comes to getting thrown into the fire once play gets underway — averaging close to 21 minutes of ice time a night and nearly three minutes of penalty-kill TOI while usually matched up against an opposing top-six forward crew.
But playoff hockey? Now that’s an entirely different animal.
“I just don’t want to overwhelm myself,” Carlo said Monday. “I feel like I had a solid year and stayed consistent throughout that. I just want to continue that play coming into the playoffs and do my job ultimately. Do everything I can help the team in the ways that I can. I understand the player that I am, more so, at this point now.”
While Carlo and newcomers like rookie Karson Kuhlman have yet to experience the physicality and intensity that comes with the territory every postseason, they have plenty of resources to turn to throughout the Bruins locker room. And not just the usual suspects like Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci (220 combined playoff games).