BOSTON – It might be easy to brush off Charlie McAvoy’s stunning two-goal performance against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday night as a one-time Boston Bruins event.
Maybe it was one of those nights where the puck was finding the 25-year-old Bruins defenseman and the hockey gods were smiling on him in the 5-2 win over the hated Habs at TD Garden. Except it wasn’t that at all if you’ve been paying attention to McAvoy this season.
After playing his way into the conversation as the one of the NHL’s best defensemen last year in his first season without Zdeno Chara by his side, the 23-year-old McAvoy is ascending to the highest levels of NHL D-men by adding more of an offensive dimension to his game.
McAvoy was a dominant force over the weekend in back-to-back games while posting two goals, five points and a plus-5 rating while firing 10 shots on net and averaging north of 24 minutes of ice time per game in two wins over the Devils and Canadiens. Over the course of the season, McAvoy has essentially been a point-per-game player with three goals and 12 points in 13 games and is on pace to finish with 19 goals and 76 points.
That would be the best offensive season for a Boston Bruins defenseman since Ray Bourque’s prime as a Hall of Fame defenseman for the Black and Gold.
“The better offensive hockey teams in the National Hockey League have that component with at least one or two of their guys [on the back end] that can really add to it,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, of having a defenseman that’s a consistent offensive threat.