Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy will return from his one-game suspension Sunday for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final. Without their leading minutes’ eater, the Bruins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 in Game 1 and got some crucial minutes and a huge goal from defenseman Steven Kampfer and even more minutes from rookie Connor Cliffton who was paired up with captain Zdeno Chara on the top D pairing. Cliffton played 18:02 and had four hits and Kampfer was on the ice for 14:56 with a goal on one shot.
On Friday, head coach Bruce Cassidy wasn’t committing to who of the two would come out but hinted to Cliffton. Either way, he was happy they made it a difficult decision for him to make.
“I’ll tell you right now, it’s Kampfer or Clifton,” Cassidy said. “We’ll examine what’s the best fit. They both played very well for us last night, so that’s a good problem to have. I suspect Clifton will stay in, we like the job he’s done. Charlie’s definitely going to be on our second power play, so that’s where Clifton kills [penalties] a little more than Kampfer, so you’ve got to balance special teams as well.”
Cassidy continued his praise of Cliffton and Kampfer.
“Obviously, missing Charlie is going to create some extra opportunities,” said Cassidy. “Hopefully the guys dig in. We saw that with Kampfer. He gets the first goal for us. I thought Clifton, like I said, was drawing penalties, was physical.”
McAvoy returns having scored a goal and assisted on five others in 13 games.