(Photo Credit: Steven Senne/AP)

By: Max Weisman | Follow me on Twitter: @maweisman

Boston Bruins star defenseman Charlie McAvoy left Thursday night’s 3-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres last week with what appeared to be a head injury. McAvoy didn’t practice Friday, but Bruins coach Jim Montgomery told reporters Friday that McAvoy is day-to-day. Monty called the injury upper-body and ruled out any head or concussion scenarios. McAvoy missed the Bruins’ 5-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes Saturday and is expected to return to the lineup the next time the Bruins take the ice on Wednesday in New Jersey. McAvoy exited Thursday’s game just one minute into the third period after colliding with Sabres forward JJ Peterka. No penalty was called on the hit.

McAvoy got checked out by the Bruins training staff on the bench after the hit before heading into the locker room and not returning. Bruins coach Jim Montgomery called it an upper-body injury following the game. The Bruins missed McAvoy in the third period of Thursday’s game. The Bruins were down 2-1 entering the third period and were attempting a 3rd-period comeback for the second straight game. The injury forced the Bruins to take chances to try and even the score, but without McAvoy as a rock on defense, the Sabres got one too many odd-man rushes. Victor Olofsson put the game away with just under nine minutes to play. The Bruins’ 3-1 loss to the Sabres was their first loss to Buffalo since April 2021.

This update is great news for the Bruins, who can’t afford to be without another defenseman for an extended period of time. The Bruins placed Derek Forbort on LTIR Thursday and recalled Mason Lohrei from Providence. The D pairings looked different Saturday without McAvoy and Forbort. Matt Grzelcyk was paired with Brandon Carlo, Hampus Lindholm with Ian Mitchell, and Mason Lohrei with Kevin Shattenkirk.

Fortunately, it was no McAvoy, no problem for the Bruins against the Coyotes. The Bruins took a 3-0 lead early in the second period off of goals from Pastrnak, Coyle, and Shattenkirk. The Coyotes answered with two goals in 32 seconds, but Danton Heinen added a fourth for the Bruins midway through the second, which would end up being the game-winning goal. Lindholm and Carlo were the workhorses on defense, each logging around 25 minutes in ice time.

The Bruins have already faced adversity on defense this year when McAvoy was suspended for four games following his hit on Panthers’ Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Grzelcyk was on LTIR then, so the Bruins were down two defensemen, much like they could be now. The Bruins called up Lohrei, Mitchell, and Parker Wotherspoon to join the club at that time.

Even though he missed four games due to suspension, McAvoy leads all Bruins’ defensemen in goals, assists, and points at 3, 14, and 17, respectively. The 14 assists are second on the team behind David Pastrnak, who has 22. McAvoy also leads the team in ice time, logging just over 24 minutes per game.