It’s hard to believe, but it seems that Boston Bruins defensemen Charlie McAvoy is getting better with each game the Boston Bruins play in the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs. Just ask the New York islanders.
After recording five assists in five games in the Bruins’ first-round series win over the Washington Capitals, Boston’s 23-year-old first-round pick in the 2016 Entry Draft is having an even better second-round series against the Islanders and the series is just three games old.
Entering tonight’s pivotal Game 4 at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island with the Black and Gold holding a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, the Bruins are going to need their new leader on the blueline, with the departures of Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara last offseason, to continue his strong series against his hometown team.
McAvoy scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal in Game 1 of the series a week ago at the TD Garden when his bomb from the blue line found the back of the net in the third period. Two nights later in the Bruins 4-3 overtime loss in Game 2, McAvoy collected an assist on Brad Marchand‘s power play goal in the third period that forced overtime.
Thursday night in the Bruins 2-1 overtime victory, McAvoy set up Marchand for the game-winning goal 3:36 into overtime to give the Bruins a series lead after three games. For the game, McAvoy finished at 29:11 for time-on-ice on 32 shifts. The man is becoming a nightly machine in time-on-ice. His time has increased in each of the three games against the Islanders.
McAvoy’s playoff numbers are pretty impressive so far this playoff run. In eight games, he has one goal and seven assists, which is good enough to average a point-per-game. He has a plus/minus of plus-7 and is averaging 27:06 a night. Very impressive stuff.
With the Islanders facing a huge Game 4 tonight in front of their home crowd, the Bruins are going to need another heavy workload from their top defensemen if they want a chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.