Jordan Caron emerges in Bruins’ 3-1 win

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Had things unfolded as planned, Jordan Caron would have spent opening night on the ninth floor of TD Garden alongside spare defenseman Matt Bartkowski, sampling the press box’s salt-lick popcorn.

A preseason ankle injury to Carl Soderberg, however, put Caron in uniform instead of a suit on Thursday against Tampa Bay. Caron should have been the Bruins’ extra forward. Instead, he was one of their best.

Caron, riding on the third line with Chris Kelly and Reilly Smith, played the desperate, hard-edge game his bosses have tried to squeeze out of him since he turned pro in 2010.

Caron only had 10:21 of ice time, third-least among team forwards. But Caron made those minutes count.

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