(Photo Credit Above: NHL .com )
By Andrew Thompson Twitter: @godwentwhoops
Boston Bruins defenceman Charlie McAvoy had a strong debut for the Black and Gold. Hopefully, this wasn’t a fluke but a sign of good things to come for the young blueliner.
The Boston Bruins didn’t have much of a choice when they played Charlie McAvoy on Wednesday night. The B’s were without defencemen, Brandon Carlo and Torey Krug. The B’s blueline was stretched even thinner when Colin Miller was injured in the second period.
The stage was set for a very ugly first game for the Black and Gold. The B’s were held to zero shots on goal in the second period. Had McAvoy and the other B’s not responded in the final period, McAvoy could have been a -2 in an ugly 3-0/4-0 shellacking in Ottawa.
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Thanks to Tuukka Rask and the rest of the Bruins that didn’t happen. The B’s put in two third period goals and stole game one from the Ottawa Senators, a team they failed to beat in the regular season.
Charlie McAvoy put in an impressive first game with Boston. The 19-year old defenceman finished second among all players with 24:11 of ice time. He also led all Bruins with 29 shifts through the game.
“It was impressive,” offered Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron of McAvoy’s first game. “You would think it’s a lot of pressure coming in like that as a 19-year-old. His first game is the first game of the playoffs, it’s not easy to do.”
“There’s not much you can say about his game other than that he was phenomenal last night.”
If Patrice Bergeron says, he had a good game, who are we to argue with the patron saint of Causeway Street.
Bruins interim head coach also had high praise for McAvoy in his first showing in Boston.
“Those are the guys you want in your lineup that want the puck when the game’s on the line or in big moments,” offered Cassidy of McAvoy’s debut. “The more of those guys we can grow and develop and integrate into the lineup, the better off we’re going to be. It rubs off on the older guys. You ask any veteran player, they see these young, youthful guys that have no fear when the puck drops, it’s only going to make them more energetic.
“Just like their leadership will rub off on the young guys, their energy rubs off on the older guys.”
That energy fueled players like Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Marchand’s go-ahead goal with less than three minutes in regulation sealed the deal for the B’s and gave them their first playoff win in three years.
So, will Charlie McAvoy continue to be an effective blueliner for Boston? If the first game is any indication, the answer is a resounding yes. Bruce Cassidy pushed McAvoy after the Senators put in their goal in the second period. McAvoy responded well to the pressure and was part of the Marchand goal at the end of the game.
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It’s a reasonable assumption that McAvoy will get his first NHL points in the series with the Senators. He’s spent 4:13 on the B’s power play (in Torey Krug’s position with the first unit), more than all of the other defensemen combined. The opportunities were there, and if Craig Anderson hadn’t been so sharp, McAvoy would have ended up on the score sheet in some capacity.
Now the B’s will be calling on McAvoy again tonight. Torey Krug is out of the lineup. Colin Miller is likely to be out as well. So, the B’s will need the young blueliner to rise to the challenge again. If game one is any indication, McAvoy should put up another strong performance for Boston.