Despite Absence from Lineup, Marchand Made Presence Felt in Florida | Boston Bruins

McAvoy Makes Mark

Heading into Game 5, much had been made about McAvoy being held without an official shot on goal in the series. But on Tuesday night, that changed drastically.

The defenseman landed a team-high six shots on net, including his first goal of the postseason at 10:25 of the second period, which gave Boston a 2-1 lead and proved to be the winner.

“I’ve been trying, certainly taking shots. Just haven’t been able to see them get to the net,” said McAvoy. “You never lose confidence. It’s the playoffs. It’s up and down, it’s emotional. Today’s a new day. That’s all we’re given. I’ve been trying to keep the same mindset. I’m grateful for these opportunities and the guys that I get to go to war with.

“I want to do my best to the best that I can, [Tuesday night] was good to see them get on net and see them create some opportunities for our team. It’s up and downs, you’ve got to stay even keeled.”

McAvoy’s marker came on a stellar sequence that began in the Bruins’ defensive end when Charlie Coyle corralled a puck and found Trent Frederic in the neutral zone. As Frederic entered the Florida end, he opened up and delivered a pass to Coyle, who left a sneaky drop pass to a trailing McAvoy.

“It was great poise by Freddy just to pull up and then we get numbers,” said Coyle. “I didn’t know if I was gonna go back to Fred or keep it. Chuck came off [the bench] like an animal. [Danton] Heinen draws a guy to him to the net. I don’t think we score without that either.

“I don’t think he gets a point on it but a nice play by Heinen. Just a spur of the moment thing to drop it to Charlie and thank God it was the right play.”

Boston’s blue liner hopped off the bench and surged into the offensive zone, collecting Coyle’s feed and ripping a wrister over the glove over Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

“I saw we had numbers and I saw [Andrew Peeke] was coming for a change,” said McAvoy. “Second period, sometimes you can win the change battle and get a chance. Started yelling right away. Great play by him to have patience with the puck and to find me. Was pumped to see it go in.”

There was some pause, however, as Florida coach Paul Maurice challenged the play for goalie interference with Heinen and Panthers defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson tangled in the crease. But after a review, it was determined that Bobrovsky had time to reset and the goal stayed on the board – much to the relief of the Bruins, who had a controversial goalie interference review go against them in Game 4.

“Oh, he was freaking out,” joked Pastrnak.

“This one has to go our way,” McAvoy said when asked what was going through his mind during the review. “Just hoping. I thought on the play when I collected the puck, I got my head up and he seemed square to me that he was able to square up and just 1-on-1.

“Didn’t look like he was interfered with. I just kept thinking it was a fair play. It was 1-on-1 and he had a chance. Just happy that that one went our way. You never know with these things. We needed that one.”

For the game, McAvoy finished with a goal, an assist, a plus-1 rating, six shots on goal, and three hits in 23:26 of ice time. The 26-year-old now has 10 points (goal, nine assists) in 15 career elimination games, tying Zdeno Chara and Andrew Ference for third-most among Boston defensemen.

“Charlie does it all…whatever the situation calls for in a game, he comes and makes that big play,” said Coyle. “[Tuesday night], it was the goal in that moment…but it’s everything else he does in the game to make a big difference.”

Montgomery said McAvoy’s leadership was also on full display in Game 5.

“He’s extremely competitive, he’s kind of quiet, doesn’t say much, but you could see him talking a lot [on Tuesday night] on the bench,” said Montgomery. “And his play was instrumental in our victory. And I think the goal for him is huge.”

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