The Bruins have a saying, according to Charlie McAvoy.
“Each guy has a gas tank,” McAvoy said. “Give me some gas tonight.”
The Bruins defenseman certainly injected a little Black and Gold high test into the engine tonight, scoring the game-tying tally against the first place Florida Panthers, in a 3-2 shootout victory, Saturday night at TD Garden.
Trailing 2-1, following a Panther’s powerplay goal, McAvoy and company knew they needed to get something going. And when Florida’s Carter Verhaeghe was whistled off for hooking at 13:17 of the period, that time was now.
With David Pastrnak manning the left point, Brad Marchand buzzing around the left wing slot, and Patrice Bergeron and Taylor Hall clogging up the middle, McAvoy found his opening. The 6-foot-1, 206-pound defenseman deftly skated down the right wing corner, burying a Marchand one-timer past Panthers goalie Spencer Knight, off a picture perfect tape-to-tape pass with 6:25 left in regulation.
“It felt great,” said McAvoy, whose team would go on to win courtesy of a Charlie Coyle shootout goal. “It’s funny, but that’s not how we really scripted it. It’s one of the things (Bruins Coach Bruce Cassidy) talks about – (puck) possession over position. We get the puck and we’re trying to make plays and that’s where the skills take over.”
“I don’t know what I’m really doing there on the backdoor,” he added. “But that’s kind of where I ended up, with Marshy on the left side and Pasta up on the top. We just trust each other and you want to let the skill take over. So it’s really nice to see that one go in. We’ve been working hard, so it was nice. Everyone came through tonight.”
Stymied after two periods of play, Boston found themselves in a 2-1 hole after Panthers sniper Alexsander Barkov netted a powerplay tally at 7:49 of the third period. Frustrated, McAvoy opted to channel his energies elsewhere. His open ice hit on Panthers forward Eetu Luostarinen seemed to set the right tone his team was looking for.
“That just sort of presented itself,” said McAvoy. “In the first and second periods, I was trying to make plays with the puck, and it wasn’t settling for me. We were tired and I really relied on the guys tonight, especially on the back end… They gave me the gas tonight.”
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