RALEIGH, NC – Could Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy be in play for tonight’s pivotal Game 5 showdown between the Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena? The signs are certainly pointing toward the No. 1 defenseman getting out of COVID protocol and getting back on the ice.
Boston Globe reporter Matt Porter snapped a picture of McAvoy arriving at the arena via car service late Tuesday afternoon wearing a mask as he walked into the security entrance for Carolina’s home rink.
Was standing outside doing a radio hit and noticed Charlie McAvoy arriving (via car service) at PNC. pic.twitter.com/IGfTx8r9Pk
— Matt Porter (@mattyports) May 10, 2022
McAvoy missed Sunday’s Game 4 after it was announced he was entering the NHL’s COVID protocol and it was anticipated he was going to miss Game 5 as well, though there was the caveat that he could be eligible to play if he had two negative COVID tests prior to game time.
What would a key playoff game be without a little drama during pregame warmups?
A return to the B’s lineup for McAvoy would be a game-changer for the Black and Gold, who will miss Hampus Lindholm for the third straight game with an upper body injury and were forced into a rag tag back end for Game 4 where Matt Grzelcyk and Brandon Carlo were the top pairing. The Boston Bruins were ready to soldier on without both McAvoy and Lindholm this morning, a task that would become increasingly difficult in Carolina’s home rink where their speedy and aggressive attack forced Boston into plenty of errors in the first two games.
“When we’re a little cleaner on the breakout, I think that makes a big difference,” said Grzelcyk. “Just working as a five-man unit and we’re a little closer together making a few more bumps rather than a stretch pass that gets broken up, and then they’re coming back the other way.
“I think we’ve done a good job making a few adjustments on the breakout and that’s allowed us to have a smoother time going through the neutral zone and play a little bit more down low.”
If McAvoy comes into the lineup, one expects Mike Reilly to bump up to the top pairing and rugged D-man Josh Brown to come out of the lineup, but we’ll see at pregame warmups exactly what is happening here.