McAvoy's injury puts damper on Bruins' overtime win vs Canadiens

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McAvoy's injury puts damper on Bruins' overtime win vs Canadiens

GOLD STAR: Jake DeBrusk had an up-and-down game where he amassed a reasonably solid shot on net (five) total, but also found himself on the bench for parts of the third period as Bruce Cassidy was shortening things up down a goal. But it was DeBrusk that stepped up and made a play in the third period redirecting a Nick Holden point pass past Antti Niemi for the game-tying strike with less than three minutes to go in the game. DeBrusk has scored some important, timely goals for the Bruins this season, and this was another one of them at a moment where the Bruins needed a finishing play from somebody. In total DeBrusk finished with a goal, five shots on net, a hit and a takeaway in 16:36 of ice time while once again showing his willingness to go to the net for offense. 

BLACK EYE: It’s a literal black eye for Charlie McAvoy, who was out of the game and injured (lower body) just 37 seconds into the game. It was unclear whether McAvoy injured one of his feet on some stick-work from Brendan Gallagher, or perhaps did something else during an awkward tumble into the boards seconds earlier. Either way McAvoy was done very early with quick word that he wouldn’t be returning to the game, which normally isn’t a good sign as to the seriousness of the injury. The hope has to be that it’s something that won’t keep the 20-year-old out for a significant amount of time just as he was rounding back into form after his heart procedure more than a month ago. If it’s a serious injury, that would put a major damper on Boston’s plans for a long playoff run. 

TURNING POINT: The Bruins had gone 0-for-5 on the power play all evening and must have been fairly frustrated with the zero on the scoreboard late into the third period. But a delay of game penalty from Jonathan Drouin opened the door for the Bruins PP to get one more chance, and things began to go their way even more when a Habs PK member lost their stick. So the Bruins were finally able to get their special teams’ goal with 2:45 to go in the game, and it was really all Bruins after that with scoring chances and heavy pressure before they pulled things out in overtime. It all came down to finally executing on that last power play chance, and the Bruins did exactly that.

HONORABLE MENTION: Anton Khudobin was brilliant for the Bruins after getting the call in place of Tuukka Rask, even if he made 27 saves to the 48 saves made by his counterpart Antti Niemi at the other end of the ice. But Khudobin had some real quality chances that he had to stop with the Bruins down by a goal pretty much the entire game, and he never made a mistake with all that pressure on his shoulders. Instead he stuffed Logan Show on a 2-on-1 odd-man rush in the second period when he made a sprawling, gymnastics like save on the backhanded shot. Later in the second he flashed a big glove on a scorched Alex Galchenyuk blast from the right face-off circle on a Montreal power play. Khudobin needed to be on to match what Niemi was doing at the other end of the ice, and he absolutely was that for the Bruins on Saturday night to push his record this season to a sterling 14-4-4 this season. 

BY THE NUMBERS: 11 – the number of shot attempts for Nick Holden in his 21:52 of ice time for the Bruins while setting up the game-tying goal in the third period with a slick shot-pass from the point spot. 

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He does a great job [being strong on the puck]. That OT goal, that’s all-world. To have it that long and then be able to finish, [that’s a] hell of a play." –Bruce Cassidy on Brad Marchand’s strength on the puck on the whole shift leading up to his OT game-winner.


Krug steps up as Bruins stars go down

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Krug steps up as Bruins stars go down

The Bruins have managed to take three of a possible six points since Zdeno Chara went down in the third period of last week's comeback win over the Carolina Hurricanes, and they've done it completely without their top pairing since Charlie McAvoy has also been out all this time.

There are a number of factors behind the ability to withstand the injuries, of course, and the entire defense corps was stellar at both ends in the shutout win over Tampa Bay last weekend.


But it's Torey Krug who's really stepped up his game. He had three assists and 15 shots on net in those three games, and was immense in the win over the Lightning.

Krug has surpassed the 50-point plateau for the second straight season, a major accomplishment for a defenseman who prides himself on his puck-moving and power-play work.

"You know, he has [stepped up]," coach Bruce Cassidy said of Krug, adding: "Torey is always going to get his numbers, but he's really added to it 5-on-5 . . . [It] was comforting to see that [without Chara and McAvoy] we shut out one of the best teams [in the NHL], at home, that was rested. You've got to take something out of that. It was one of 82 [games], but that was a real positive for our guys."

For Krug, the challenge of stepping up and being a leader in the team's time of need is the kind of thing he takes pride in responding to with an elevated level of play.

"I'm in the business of winning hockey games and helping my team win," said Krug. "It falls on my shoulders to produce some offense from the back end. And [when] we're missing a couple of guys from the back end that do that push the pace, then you've got to step up and make some plays. When you play with a lot of great players then you'll get your points, and you just need to worry about the defensive zone first.

"We're confident in everybody in this room. A lot of people think that the guys on our back end can't get the job done, so for us to step up [is a good thing]."


The biggest sign of Krug's increased responsibility? He topped 26 minutes of ice time in two of the three games since Chara was injured. Only once before, when he was on the ice for 27-plus minutes against the Rangers in early November, has he played more than that.

The loss of Chara and McAvoy has forced Krug to go above and beyond his normal range of duties and he's stepped up and embraced it. That's what good players on good teams do, and it's something Krug has consistently done in the big moments since arriving in Boston five years ago.


Erik Karlsson and wife Melinda mourn death of their son

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Erik Karlsson and wife Melinda mourn death of their son

The Ottawa Senators announced Tuesday that team captain Erik Karlsson and his wife Melinda lost their son one month before his due date.


"The collective thoughts and prayers of the Ottawa Senators organization, the city of Ottawa and entire hockey community rest with Erik and Melinda Karlsson following the loss of their son.

We ask that you respect the family's wishes for privacy during the grieving process."

The couple announced via Instagram in November that they were expecting, and the CBC reports the baby was due in April.

Sens head coach Guy Boucher spoke about the tragedy after Ottawa's game vs the Panthers on Tuesday (1:36 mark in video below).

Karlsson, a rumored Bruins target before the trade deadline, received heartfelt condolences from the hockey world on Twitter:

Our thoughts too go out to Erik and Melinda during this incredibly difficult time.