BOSTON – The Bruins have to be hoping for the best when it comes to 20-year-old defenseman Charlie McAvoy.
The rookie D-man was done for the night after just 37 seconds of ice time in the first period of Boston’s comeback 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden, and left with a lower body injury that wasn’t specified after the game was over. It was difficult to tell what exactly happened with McAvoy when he was on the ice as he skated awkwardly by the boards, and then was tripped up by some stick-work from Brendan Gallagher right afterward.
At that point McAvoy skated off the ice to the dressing room, and the Bruins were essentially forced to play with five defensemen for the entirety of the game. Afterward Bruce Cassidy didn’t have an update on McAvoy’s condition, but was hopeful that it wasn’t going to be a serious injury for his dynamic top-pairing defenseman.
“Lower body. [He] obviously didn’t return. Tomorrow is a scheduled day off, so everyone will be off and Monday we will have a better idea of where he’s at,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Did he get his foot caught up with the other guy, or is it something maybe before that? I don’t have a good answer to that, to be honest.”
“It won’t be too hard to find out because he was out there for 37 seconds, so by the time we go through it [we should see it]. Hopefully it’s not serious. It didn’t look serious at the time, but I don’t really know.”
The Bruins ended up with a massive 50 shots on net for the game, but only began finishing on goals in the final three minutes of regulation, and then again for the game-winner in overtime. The B’s, minus McAvoy, had some difficulty moving the puck and setting things up offensively, and ended up playing Torey Krug much more on the power play without their dynamic rookie D-man.
“Clearly we had some issues moving the puck out of our zone. Charlie is a transporter; he’s a mover, passer and all of the above. Offensive zone, he can create some space and get some shots through, and make some plays,” said Cassidy. “Then it wears on you from the opening shift defending. That’s 23 minutes a night that you’ve got to now have to parse out over for the full 59 minutes through five guys. “So I think some of our pinches were a little bit late because maybe we were fatigued, and that allowed a few more odd-man rushes than we would like. But for the most part, it’s that puck-moving, first pass that we missed [with McAvoy’s injury].”
It will be a lot more that is missed if the lower body injury turns out to be of a more serious nature for a rookie defenseman that’s been a game-changer for the Black and Gold. In fact the Bruins’ Cup aspirations would be in jeopardy if the McAvoy turned out to be anything that was potentially season-ending. There’s absolutely no indication of that right now, of course, and the best case scenario for McAvoy and the Bruins is that it’s a tweak that will plenty of time to be fully healed ahead of next month’s Stanley Cup playoffs.
That’s what the Bruins have to be hoping for after already losing Bergeron earlier this week to a fractured right foot that’s already starting to take a toll on the team’s goal-scoring abilities.