Dougie Hamilton has made great strides from a rookie season full of healthy scratches to a sophomore year highlighted by consistent play on the blue-line.
In Game 3 Tuesday night, the first round pick from 2011 made another step forward in his progression. Sure, he only had 16:03 of ice time, but he made the most of it.
After hitting the post earlier in the game, Hamilton stayed composed and was rewarded a few minutes later. With the Bruins on their first power play thanks to a too many men bench minor by the Red Wings, Hamilton was looking to get the puck up ice to start another rush into the Detroit end. What he saw instead was a lot of open space, and he made the most of it with an end to end rush - that would make Bobby Orr proud - and buried a wrister past Jimmy Howard for the game’s first goal.
“The play before I was trying to do a play and brain cramped a little bit. So I just kind of forgot about that play,” Hamilton said to reporters about the sequence leading up to his goal. “Last game we had some open space, so [tonight] I saw the same kind of space and [I] just tried to bring it in and make a play and I saw a shot opening. So I just took that and it up ice and it went in.”
Aside from a small stretch in the second period, the Bruins dominated play in their 3-0 win inside a raucous Joe Louis Arena.
Certainly, Hamilton’s goal was a big momentum boost for the Black and Gold as they took a 2-1 series lead. Don’t believe me; just ask Brad Marchand.
“It was huge,” Marchand said about Dougie’s goal. “The crowd was fired up and they were going pretty crazy and Detroit could take a lot of momentum from that. Dougie’s goal did a great job of calming everything down and allowing us to play our game.”
Last year a young and underweight Hamilton seemed to have let the moment get to him whenever Claude Julien inserted him in the lineup. He did have some highlights during their second round series against the New York Rangers, but for the most part he was still starting his development curve.
This year, Hamilton has bulked up a little bit, and earned nearly 20 minutes a night skating along with Zdeno Chara on the first defensive pairing for most of the season. That same pairing is in tact for the postseason and the 20-year old defenseman is not only getting tutoledge from the Bruins captain, but he’s also developing into quite the stud.
Hamilton’s highlight reel goal was another step forward in his young career. His combination of size and speed is a luxury for any defenseman, and he is only going to grow.
As good as he’s been, the best may be yet to come for Dougie Hamilton, and the National Hockey League should take note.
See what Dougie, Marchand, Jordan Caron and Tuukka Rask had to say about the Bruins' 3-0 win in Game 3.
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