McAvoy on shootout winners: ‘Not a bad choice to put me out there'


BOSTON, Mass – The workhorse ability to play tons of minutes and the polished puck-moving skills are becoming firmly established parts of Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy’s game as an NHL rookie, and those alone can differentiate him from his peers.

But on his 20th birthday, McAvoy showed another developing weapon in his arsenal when he scored the game-winning shootout goal for the Bruins in a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night at TD Garden. It was a simple snap wrist-shot to beat Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck as the fourth shooter out of the gate for the Bruins, and it his second-career shootout winner this season to go along with the double-move, roofed backhander last month against the New Jersey Devils.

Both were equally impressive from the elite skill department, and point to the 20-year-old Bruins defenseman as a player that’s just beginning to tap into his full range of stand-out abilities.

In the win over the Devils, McAvoy was one of the last options as the 11th Bruins player selected for the shootout, so it’s pretty clear he’s moved up the organizational depth chart during the rare times a shootout is needed.

“[It’s] scary. When Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] missed [his shot], you know, I was wondering what was happening. I had no idea I was going to be going that early. I figured we’d have to go like 10 rounds again to get a chance, but it’s nice to see that they have some confidence in me,” said McAvoy, who finished with three hits and three blocked shots in 22:45 of ice time. “I mean that’s pretty special, so I didn’t want to disappoint. I wanted to, you know, to help our team get the two points and show that hey, you know it’s not a bad choice to put me out there. It’s an awesome opportunity. Saw some net and I just wanted to put it in there. Very glad we got the two points and we feel real good in here.”

The Bruins are now 2-for-3 in the shootout this season with both 21-year-old David Pastrnak and the 20-year-old McAvoy emerging as dangerously good performers, and Boston now collecting some of the points they frittered away over the last couple of seasons. That is certainly a shining example of the power of youthful, elite talent that is breaking through for the Bruins, already making a difference from last season.

“We’re not in a lot of them, so yes, he has moved up the charts. I think last time he shot about tenth and it was just a hunch, so this time, we were going to go with Bergy’s [Patrice Bergeron’s] line and then Charlie or maybe a [Jake] DeBrusk, who has been shooting the puck well lately,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Obviously without Krech [David Krejci] and [Ryan] Spooner that are used to going – even [Riley] Nash has good numbers in this league—[you use other players]. Good for Charlie. He seems to rise up to these moments, and we battled hard for that extra point. It’s always nice to have a win, even though it’s one point, it always sounds better, and it’s always nice at home, too.”

It’s also nice to have a player like McAvoy that the Bruins can literally rely on in every single possible hockey circumstance, and that even extends to the shootout where defenseman sometimes don’t get much of a chance to be difference-makers. 


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