Bruins

How the Bruins’ next wave of star defensemen picked up a shorthanded blue line on Saturday

(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

Charlie McAvoy was all too familiar with the play developing in front of him. 

Just eight days ago, the 22-year-old skater found himself in one of the worst spots to be in as a defenseman — sandwiched in the middle of an opposing 2-on-1 rush.

With not much time to react during a 3v3 overtime stretch against the Blue Jackets, McAvoy made the call to crowd the puck carrier, Seth Jones, in an attempt to cut off a pass or steer the biscuit away from the Grade-A areas of the ice. 

Fair to say, it didn’t work out. As McAvoy pivoted to face Jones, the Blue Jackets star fed the puck to a charging Pierre-Luc Dubois — who promptly rifled it home to hand Columbus a 2-1 victory. 

The stakes weren’t quite as high on Saturday night at Barclays Center. But for an Islanders team that ranks fourth overall in team defense (2.56 goals against per game), any slim lead might be enough for a Barry Trotz-led club that loves to clog up the neutral zone and stall even the most explosive offenses. 

As such, the 2-on-1 rush developing between Brock Nelson and Anders Lee in the second period could have potentially been all the Islanders needed to build a lead they would not relinquish against the Bruins. 

The one man in the middle of their scoring bid? McAvoy, who was determined to not make the opposing highlight reels once again.