Bruins

Bruins' Charlie McAvoy "hasn't missed a beat" since return from concussion

Bruins' Charlie McAvoy "hasn't missed a beat" since return from concussion

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy missed 20 games with a concussion, and he’s starting to make up for lost time.

He doesn’t have a point yet in the four games since returning in Tampa Bay last week, but he’s been his usual workhorse self while posting a plus-5 overall with four shots on net in those four games since coming back from injury. Even better, he’s averaged more than 20 minutes of ice time per game in that time and clearly given the Bruins a boost in the puck-moving department while scoring 3.5 goals per game after struggling to scrape together goals earlier in that stretch.

“I feel good. I think I came back with a little bit of rust, but since then I think I’ve come back and kind of taken off. I think I’m playing well in my own zone and trying to contribute when I can,” said McAvoy, who has a goal and six points along with a plus-6 in 11 games this season. “Fortunately our offense has been playing fairly well those left few games, so we didn’t really need to do much on the back end.

“It’s about being efficient and being smart, and not trying to look for anything more than the next right play has allowed me to feel like I haven’t missed a beat.”

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McAvoy has even taken a bad hit, the blind side shot that got Zach Hyman suspended for two games, and a high stick to the face, and kept right on playing his game. It’s those kinds of experiences that are giving McAvoy his confidence back, and show that he’s truly over the scary first-time experience with the concussion.

“Zero, which is what we were looking for,” said Bruce Cassidy, when asked if there was any hesitation in McAvoy’s game. “We were hoping he’d come back assertive and just play hockey. I think he’s been real good in that respect. The first night there was rust from not playing in terms of handling the puck and making the plays on time. He’d quickly got out of that.

“He obviously took a big hit from Hyman that was suspend-able, and he bounced back from that. I think he’s recovered really well.”     

Now, the next step for McAvoy is to go beyond the good first pass and the kick-start to the transition game and put up some points on the back end. The Bruins sorely missed that in the 20 games while the 20-year-old was out of the lineup, and it’s only a matter of time before that returns for McAvoy too. 

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Zdeno Chara vs. Captain America? Brad Marchand proposes "super" fight

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Zdeno Chara vs. Captain America? Brad Marchand proposes "super" fight

Zdeno Chara can't be bothered by mere mortals.

The Boston Bruins defenseman pummeled another poor soul Tuesday night, handling New York Islanders forward Matt Martin in an entertaining but brief fight.

After the game, Chara's punching prowess drew a reaction from Brad Marchand ... and got the winger thinking.

Back in February, Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk aptly compared the 6-foot-9 Chara to Thanos, the massive super-villain who appears in Marvel's "Avengers" movies.

So, why not square Thanos up with Chris Evans, the actor who plays Captain America?

TSN tried to get in on the action by swapping Evans out for Brie Larson, who plays Captain Marvel in the film of the same name released earlier this month. But Marchand stuck to his guns ...

... Before getting a little distracted.

In any case, we like Chara's chances against the 6-foot Evans, superpowers and all. As for Marchand? At least he has a cameo in our "Avengers: Endgame" trailer.

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Talking Points from Bruins' 5-0 win over Islanders: Kuraly sets tone

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Talking Points from Bruins' 5-0 win over Islanders: Kuraly sets tone

GOLD STAR: Fourth-line center Sean Kuraly is having a pretty darn good season. The two goals scored on Tuesday night give him a career-high eight and 20 points with 10 regular-season games remaining. Tuesday night also marked his first two-goal game in the regular season after he scored twice in Game 5 of the 2017 playoff series vs. Ottawa. Both were just flat out good shots. The first goal simply fooled Robin Lehner when he first looked to pass and the second was Kuraly stepping into a pass from Danton Heinen after a quick wraparound attempt. He’s really not a good fit as a top-nine forward after the Bruins tried him on the third line to start the season, but he’s become a really good, well-rounded fourth-line center with just enough offensive pop. A pretty good season for Kuraly with some bumps and bruises along the way.

BLACK EYE: Can you give it to the entire Islanders team? There are so many candidates to choose from, whether it was Lehner, who appeared to be having trouble tracking pucks from the first goal allowed, or Josh Bailey and Leo Komarov, who were both a minus-3 with zero offensive presence. In general, the Islanders managed just two shots on net in the first period and then only another six in the second period. By that point, they were trailing 3-0 with no chance to get back into the game. About the only Islanders player who showed up was Matt Martin challenging Zdeno Chara to a fight to start the second period to try and stir up the troops, but that didn’t even work for a team that just never showed up.

TURNING POINT: After slow starts for the longest time, the Bruins are again hopping on opponents and taking control of games. Kuraly and the Bruins fourth line brought serious energy at the start of the game and it culminated with Kuraly scoring just 1:10 in. Once the Bruins scored that early knockdown, it sure appeared like the Islanders quit with just two shots on net in the first period. Then the Bruins scored two more goals in the second and were off and running after a strong start. It was all about being ready to go at the starting gate for the Black and Gold.

HONORABLE MENTION: Patrice Bergeron had another typically excellent game that culminated with No. 37 scoring a goal in the third period to help widen the lead. It was a top-corner beauty in the slot that Bergeron stepped into after a slick centering pass from Joakim Nordstrom. He finished with a goal, a plus-1 rating and eight shot attempts in 14:36 of easygoing ice time. Bergeron also had a takeaway and 13 of 22 wins on face-offs in a strong, all-around effort while centering Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak for the first time in a month. There were plenty of good performances, though. This could have gone to Noel Acciari, Jake DeBrusk, Charlie Coyle, Charlie McAvoy or Zdeno Chara among others in a strong all-around effort.

BY THE NUMBERS: 7 – the number of shots on net for Charlie Coyle in 17:58 of ice time as he continues to generate shots and offense while playing the wing on David Krejci’s right side rather than third line center.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “I thought in every area of the game we were very good. We limited their chances against. I thought we broke up a lot of plays to put us in transition, made good decisions with the puck and really attacked when we could. I thought our D pinched at the right times and the forwards reloaded, and as a result, we got a lot of pucks back. We buried a few early and about halfway through the game I thought we really broke their spirit.” –Bruce Cassidy, to NESN on the dominant 5-0 win.

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