BOSTON – The Boston Bruins were hit with some awful news prior to Sunday afternoon’s Game 4 vs. the Carolina Hurricanes as defenseman Charlie McAvoy is out after entering the NHL’s COVID protocol. The announcement was made by the Boston Bruins just prior to warmups for the Sunday matinee with the Boston Bruins down 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
The even worse news? McAvoy is also out for Game 5 as it’s a five-day quarantine period after entering the league’s updated COVID protocol and he wouldn’t be out in time for Tuesday’s game in Carolina. The NHL and NHLPA both agreed at the NHL All-Star break to stop testing asymptomatic players, so McAvoy must have been exhibiting some COVID symptoms prior to prompting a test.
Considering how much the Boston Bruins back end has struggled to consistently and cleanly break the puck out against a speedy, aggressive Carolina forecheck, the B’s would appear to be in a great deal of trouble in Game 4 missing their two premier puck-moving defensemen.
The Boston Bruins will go with a top pairing of Matt Grzelcyk and Brandon Carlo with McAvoy and Lindholm both out of the lineup, and Josh Brown will see his first action of the playoffs on a third pairing with Derek Forbort, a game after he blocked a whopping nine shots in Friday night’s Game 3 win for the Black and Gold.
Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy did indicate prior to Game 4 that Hampus Lindholm continues to feel better recovering from his upper body injury suffered in a nasty hit from Andrei Svechnikov, and that he’s resumed skating in attempts to come back at some point in this series.
For the Carolina Hurricanes, Antti Raanta is back between the pipes for the Canes as they are getting closer to full strength up and down their lineup.