The Bruins will be without defenseman Charlie McAvoy for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, as the NHL Department of Player Safety has suspended McAvoy one game for his illegal check to the head of Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson.
McAvoy only gets two minutes for this. Wow. pic.twitter.com/5c1XtSetR4— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 7, 2019
Assessed a two-minute minor for the hit — a penalty the Bruins killed off en route to a 3-0 closeout victory at Nationwide Arena — McAvoy denied any sort of intent on the hit when speaking with reporters after the game.
“I put my shoulder into him,” said McAvoy. “When I hit, I do my very best. I keep my elbow tucked so I don’t get it out there. I hit with my shoulder and try to, you know, hit with as much power as possible. It was a hockey play. I tried to deliver a check.
“I was penalized two minutes for it. I served it and came back and played.”
While the contact with Anderson’s head was undeniable, McAvoy and Anderson did not seem to have any sort of issue with one another after the game, seemingly confirming that both parties knew it was a hit that went awry.
It will be a noticeable loss for the Bruins, though, as McAvoy has been Boston’s most effective two-way defenseman through two rounds, and leads all Boston skaters with 24:46 of ice-time per night.
This is the first suspension of McAvoy’s NHL career.
The Bruins and Hurricanes will play Game 1 on Thursday night at TD Garden.