Charlie McAvoy’s latest accolade came in the form of a birthday present.
With Ryan Spooner, Riley Nash and several other Bruins battling the flu bug, the Calder Trophy candidate delivered another shootout winner as Boston earned a hard-fought 2-1 win over a skilled Winnipeg Jets squad Thursday night at TD Garden.
Birthday cake for everyone. ? pic.twitter.com/4mNusLxNuF
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 22, 2017
“Definitely,” McAvoy said with a laugh about his shootout winner on the day he turned 20. “Cherry on top of a great team win. We said no matter who’s in the lineup, we look at our [depth] chart and say ‘that’s the winning lineup’ regardless of who’s hurt, who’s sick or whatever is happening in our room, we always feel like we can win if we play the right way. And tonight we did for 65 minutes.”
With the choppy ice, the ex-Boston University standout kept it simple. Instead of trying to deke Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, McAvoy clinched the fourth-round decision with a slick snap shot.“I know the ice wasn’t particularly great there at the end,” McAvoy said about his thought process before his shootout attempt. “I knew it was a little bit of a high percentage play for me to shoot it versus a deke – especially with the ice the way it is. I tried to change the angle right away and not come down on him; just go straight up and make him change his own angle a little bit then I saw some room on the blocker side and I just wanted to shoot it before he was able to recover.”
The Bruins improved to 2-1 in the shootout. Both wins came off the stick of McAvoy, the first one coming on Thanksgiving Eve in an 11-round marathon against the Devils.
Bruce Cassidy was forced to tinker his depth chart against the Jets without Spooner and David Krejci (out for the third straight game with an upper-body injury). As fate would have it, McAvoy moved up the shootout depth chart – slotting fourth behind Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron.
Cassidy isn’t shy using McAvoy in pivotal situations. But is he tempted to use McAvoy in future shootouts?
“Well we’re not in a lot of [shootouts], so yes, he’s moved up the charts. I think the last time he shot about 10th and it was just a hunch, so this time we were going to go with [Bergeron’s] line and then Charlie,” Cassidy said. “Good for Charlie. Like I said, he seems to rise up to these moments, and we battled hard for that extra point so it’s always nice to have it.”