Here are my talking points from the Bruins’ overtime thriller in Brooklyn:
GOLD STAR: Charlie McAvoy only had an assist in the win, but it wasn’t about the offense for him. It was about the all-around game where the young defenseman played like a true No. 1 defenseman in every aspect of the game. He pushed pucks in the offensive zone to create scoring chances, including Jake DeBrusk's equalizer in the second period. He played like a defensive warrior in his own zone. McAvoy finished with a game-high 28:43 of ice time. He blocked four shots, including a couple Johnny Boychuk rockets that hobbled him. He added five hits and generated five shot attempts in an incredibly active game. With Matt Grzelcyk injured in the first period and Zdeno Chara in pain, it was up to McAvoy to step up if the B’s were going to win. That’s exactly what he did on Saturday night.
BLACK EYE: Not only was Derick Brassard totally ineffective centering one of the Isles' middle forward lines. He also took out Grzelcyk with a slash to the back of his knee that went uncalled in the first period. Brassard finished with no shots on net, a minus-1 rating and just 4-for-8 on face-offs in 10:43 of ice time, so the numbers and the performance were forgettable. But it was that cheap play on Grzelcyk that took things from merely “meh” to the most negative factor for either team in an otherwise very well-played, playoff-style hockey game.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins haven't had a lot of luck in overtime this season. But they played very well this time around. Brad Marchand drew a tripping penalty on Brock Nelson that gave the Bruins a 4-on-3 power play advantage, and they went to work against the Islanders' penalty kill. Patrice Bergeron potted the game-winner, but credit Marchand’s aggressive drive to the net to set the play in motion. Boston outshot New York 3-0 in the extra frame.
HONORABLE MENTION: Certainly Tuukka Rask could earn this, after standing on his head in the first period while the Bruins came out flat. But give it to Mat Barzal, who was the best player on the ice for the Islanders and set up multiple scores around the net. He set up Scott Mayfield for the Isles' first goal, then redirected a point shot in the third period to tie the game and send it to overtime. The center finished with a goal, two points and a plus-1 in 18:32 of ice time to go with a game-high nine shots on net and 11 shot attempts. He was all over the place.
BY THE NUMBERS: 37 – The combined number of blocked shots for both teams.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “We obviously worked really hard to get those extra points and it was needed. We’ll take it and move on.” –Patrice Bergeron, proud of his team’s work ethic in the overtime victory.