By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — With all due respect to Brad Marchand and his breakaway goal in overtime on Wednesday night, the play of the game did not belong to the man who scored the game-winning goal. That honor belongs to the man who set it up.READ MORE: The Roaring 2020s? A Look At What The Post-Pandemic Economy Could Look Like
That play, of course, was made by Charlie McAvoy, who was in retreat toward his net while defending a 2-on-1 Rangers rush before turning defense into offense in the blink of an eye.
With Pavel Buchnevich carrying into the Boston zone, McAvoy positioned himself between the puck carrier and Adam Fox. McAvoy extended his stick for a quick poke-check attempt but then geared up for the pass he knew was coming. And as soon as Buchnevich sent his pass from dot-to-dot, McAvoy batted the puck out of midair to kill the scoring chance.
That whack deadened the puck, which then deflected off Patrice Bergeron’s skate and headed back to McAvoy. Without hesitating, McAvoy sent a controlled clear off the boards, knowing that Brad Marchand was all alone in the neutral zone.
From there, all Marchand had to do was finish, capping off the type of back-and-forth mayhem that makes the 3-on-3 overtime so exciting.
READ MORE: Police Search For Suspect After Report Of Shots Fired At Salem Walmart
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) February 11, 2021
What a play by Charlie McAvoy, leading to Brad Marchand’s OT-winner: pic.twitter.com/El62hj9OsS
— Evan Marinofsky (@emarinofsky) February 11, 2021
For the Bruins, winning the game was the most important outcome of that play. But for McAvoy, it also extended a rather rare point streak for a Bruins defenseman. No Bruins defenseman has matched McAvoy’s current eight-game point streak since Ray Bourque did it in the 1995-96 season.
Charlie McAvoy extended his point streak to eight games. Only one @NHLBruins defenseman in the last 35 years has recorded a run of at least that length: Ray Bourque (6x; last: 8 GP in 1995-96). #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/4c95Dy4UCa
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 11, 2021
Head coach Bruce Cassidy said he wasn’t particularly pleased with the overall performance of the defense, as goaltender Tuukka Rask had to make a number of saves on Grade A chances from the Rangers. But McAvoy’s finish helped soothe some of that problem.MORE NEWS: Massachusetts Reopening Plan: COVID Restrictions Loosen Monday, Including Restaurant Capacity
“Charlie makes a hell of a play on the last goal. Breaks up a 2-on-1, has the presence of mind to get the puck up ahead to Marchy,” Cassidy said. “So at the end of the day, a real good play at the end by our D.”