Boston Bruins: Birthday boy Charlie McAvoy comes through in the clutch

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 21: Charlie McAvoy
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 21: Charlie McAvoy /

Twenty-year-old Boston Bruins rookie Charlie McAvoy capped off his birthday with a GWG in the shootout.

Charlie McAvoy has had a whirlwind year. He was thrust into the spotlight after being forced to play in the playoffs last year and ended up playing rather well for the Boston Bruins. Especially considering he was just a freshman in college.

Now in his first full season with the Boston Bruins, he is arguably the teams best defenseman. Then on Thursday night, his birthday, McAvoy lead the Bruins to a 2-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets in a shootout.

The Bruins were beat up as the flu bug has made its way to the locker room. Riley Nash and Ryan Spooner both missed Thursday’s game due to illness. Brad Marchand, who Bruce Cassidy said was one of the most seriously affected was still able to play.

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The only goal in regulation was scored by Torey Krug midway through the third period. Krug launched a shot from the point and Noel Acciari was screening in front of Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. The goal was Krug’s 6th of the season.

The Jets tied the game a minute later after Patrik Laine scored his 18th game of the season.

Then the game went to OT and no one could score so it all comes down to a shootout. The Bruins have struggled in the past in shootouts but this season they are doing ok. They were 1-1 entering Thursday’s game.

In the shootout, the Bruins got success from two usual suspects. David Pastrnak used his filthy mitts and ended up going bar down to make the score in the shootout 1-1. Then after a miss from Patrice Bergeron, it was McAvoy’s time to shine. He unleashed a rocket wrist shot that blew by Hellebuyck.

After the game McAvoy talked about his strategy in the shootout.

"“I know that the ice wasn’t particularly great there at the end. I know it’s a little bit more of a high percentage play for myself to try and shoot it versus a deke, especially when the ice is the way it is,” said McAvoy. “I tried to change the angle right away, not come down on him. Just straight up kind of make him change his own angle a bit…I saw some room on the blocker side and I just wanted to shoot it there before he was able to recover.”"

Both McAvoy and Pastrnak are now 2-2 in shootouts this season.

Rask is heating up

Tuukka Rask had yet another phenomenal game. He stopped 37 shots on the night. The victory in the shootout was Rask’s first since last season. Rask has now won 7 out of 8 games and is playing some of his best hockey in a while. The Bruins are as well as they have won three straight games.

Next: Boston Bruins: Charlie McAvoy continues to prove he is a unique player

The Boston Bruins once again face the struggling Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.