Charlie McAvoy was candid when discussing his return to the ice on Thursday night.
Knocked out of commission for 20 games and close to seven weeks of action, the 20-year-old defenseman knew that there was going to be plenty of rust to shake off during Thursday’s tilt with the Lightning.
And as expected, McAvoy took some time settling into a groove back on the blue line.
A miscue in the opening stanza led to Brayden Point’s 21st goal of the season, as McAvoy slipped while attempting to clear the puck — with one of his three giveaways on the night leading to a Lightning tally just seconds later.
It wasn’t a perfect outing from McAvoy, nor from the team as a whole following a 3-2 loss — Boston’s third consecutive defeat in regulation.
But it’s easy to spot the impact that having No. 73 back on the ice has for a Bruins team in desperate need of a lift.
“First period was tough, trying to shake some rust off. Kind of stepped on a puck there, that’s how it goes sometimes,” McAvoy said. “When you’re not rusty sometimes you can get bad bounces, but second and third I thought I kind of came together and started to play my brand of hockey.”
McAvoy’s extended absence was a tough pill to swallow for a D corps still without Zdeno Chara and dealing with a slew of other ailments over the past month. But Bruce Cassidy has harped on how the loss of McAvoy has left Boston’s slumping offense rudderless at times.