Nearly 10 full months removed from his last appearance with the Boston Bruins, Jordan Caron hit a crucial statistical milestone in his intervening fall-and-rise period in Providence this past weekend.
In addition to suiting up for each of the P-Bruins’ three games in as many days, he tallied multiple goals and multiple points in the same weekend.
With a goal and an assist on both Friday and Sunday, Caron had a hand in triggering four out of 10 renditions of “Rock and Roll Part 2” at the Dunkin Donuts Center. Overall, he had a three-game log of 2-2-4 coupled with eight shots and a plus-two rating as Providence swept its slate and pole-vaulted into first place in the AHL Atlantic.
More encouragingly, Caron joined his teammates in kicking ice chips over the notion of fatigue upon playing his fifth game in a span of seven days. The team conducted six contests in eight days after a winter storm pushed off the previous weekend’s action from Friday and Saturday to last Monday and Tuesday, respectively.
When Caron joined in for last Monday’s makeup of a game against Portland, he was coming off his second stint on the injured reserve list since New Year’s. He mustered but four nonconsecutive appearances in January and sat out the first three contests of February.
Prior to sustaining his first ailment in the first week of January, almost concomitant with the conclusion of the NHL lockout, he had hardly performed like a candidate for a roster spot in Boston. This despite entering his third professional season with 71 regular-season games in The Show on his transcript along with his first two Stanley Cup playoff tilts last spring.
Out of his first 31 games this season in the AHL, which was his best resort during the NHL work stoppage, Caron penned his name to only six scoresheets. His only set of consecutive productive ventures was pried apart by a week of practice in November and he had only six goals to speak of on 73 shots despite pelting the opposing goaltender in all but one game.
His valiant return to the lineup was cut short when he was struck by teammate Colby Cohen’s point shot (per Mark Divver of the Providence Journal). He would abstain from game action for an additional 10 days, although the weather-induced postponements allowed him to return sooner when he otherwise would have needed to wait a full two weeks for his next extramural engagement.
One might attribute to Caron’s awakening over the past weekend to the P-Bruins’ overall surge. Providence has won 10 of its last 11 and gone 7-1-0 so far in February with a cumulative scoring differential of 31-19, nearly amounting to an exact average of four goals per night.
But in his drive to replenish his former persona, conviction is most critical for Caron and a refreshing wave of that is virtually inevitable after his most recent weekend.
Caron hit the points column for the first time this calendar year during Friday’s first period when he fed Christian Hanson with a diagonal feed to the slot. Hanson’s connection gave Caron the primary assist and the P-Bruins a 2-1 lead with 65 seconds left in the first period.
It also set off a romp of six unanswered strikes, featuring two per period and one off Caron’s twig that made it 5-1 with only 5:08 gone in the middle frame. He did so by lassoing Carter Camper’s pass on the porch of Bridgeport backstop Kevin Poulin and nimbly thrusting it home on a backhand.
Two days later, Caron set the tone for a bout with the feisty Worcester Sharks in a somewhat less favorable manner. The first entry to Sunday’s scoresheet was a goaltender interference penalty on the Bruins winger at the 49-second mark.
While hardly the ideal type of scoresheet entry, that particular infraction was indicative of a dogged net-front presence. Furthermore, it aligns with one of the plus-points on Caron’s scouting report from The Hockey News, namely that he “Has a big body and he knows how to use it effectively.”
Moments later, Caron used his strength to better use when he beat Worcester netminder Alex Stalock for a power-play icebreaker at 9:31. That gave him his first set of goals on the same weekend and the first pair to come within three games or less since his hat trick against Manchester on Oct. 19.
That, in turn, makes for a sign that he is taking at least an infant stride towards remedying one of his shortcomings. Per the same profile from THN, he needs to “become better in terms of game-to-game consistency at the National Hockey League level.”
Naturally, before he does that, he must regain consistency at the American Hockey League level.
If he retains, let alone accelerates the flare in his acetylene twig going forward, Caron can revive his candidacy for a call-up in the next three quarters of Boston’s belated regular season.