Dan Hamilton -- USA TODAY Sports

Bruins notes: Clifton impressing, Carlo’s probable, Rask will start again

Matt Kalman
November 30, 2018 - 3:26 pm

We’ve seen hints of defenseman Connor Clifton’s gambling style here and there during his seven-game stint with the Bruins, but for the most part the 23-year-old has shown he knows when to hold them, knows when to fold them.

A couple treks behind the opposition’s goal line have been overshadowed in the coaching staff’s mind by smarter plays with the puck and correct decisions without the puck, and he’s earned 18:02 of ice time a game to help make up for the Bruins’ five injured defensemen.

“Obviously you don’t want to be a wrecking ball out there giving up a lot of chances,” Clifton said after practice at Warrior Ice Arena on Friday. “And I think I’ve done a good job of just playing some defense, playing low-risk hockey really, which it’s been going good so far.”

Clifton’s found a home on a pair with veteran Torey Krug and they’ve handled themselves well against top-two lines. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy lauded Clifton’s puck movement and willingness to battle 1-on-1. But the sample size is extremely small and the coach wants Clifton to continue to improve.

“I think he has to learn a little bit about personnel throughout the league and about how these guys are stronger and faster than in the American League, so you can’t get away with anticipating too much, you better respect the offensive guys,” Cassidy said

Healing defensemen

Clifton might’ve played well just in time to keep his job a little longer because defenseman Brandon Carlo, who has missed nine games with an upper-body injury, is “probable” to return to the lineup Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings.

Clifton will probably stay in with either Steven Kampfer or Jeremy Lauzon getting scratched.

Charlie McAvoy didn’t take any contact but practiced with the Bruins on Friday.

Rask repeat

For the first time since Oct. 11 and 13 Tuukka Rask, who made 28 saves in the 2-1 shootout win against the New York Islanders on Thursday, will make consecutive starts when he faces the Red Wings on Saturday.

“Well he’s played well, real solid for us, so has [Jaroslav] Halak. So we haven’t really strung a few games together for Tuukka now since, gee I don’t know when, the start of the year,” Cassidy said. “We’ve got four [games] next week, so we thought this would be a good time this week, a couple home games, we had a few days off, since Montreal [last Saturday] was his last start [before the Islanders game], so we think it’s as good a time as any and hopefully he’s up for it.”

Related: Kalman: Rask’s clearer mind, stingier play no joking matter for Bruins

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