Charlie McAvoy and the Bruins have been here before.
Perhaps that’s why the 23-year-old horse of the Boston defense isn’t sweating the Bruins’ situation, even with the team down 3-2 in their second-round series with the Islanders and just one more loss away from their run coming to an end.
“Fourth one is the hardest one to win,” McAvoy said following Boston’s Game 5 loss at TD Garden. “We’re going to New York to win a game, and that’s all that’s on our mind. We want to put our best foot forward and win a hockey game. And that’s it. That’s all we’re thinking about right now.”
Again, McAvoy and the Bruins have been here before. They won a must-win Game 6 in Toronto in the first round of their 2019 postseason run, and forced a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final with a Game 6 win in St. Louis almost two months later. Both were as hostile an environment as Nassau Coliseum will be on Wednesday night.
The Bruins are also trying to overcome an awful lot. In addition to finding themselves on what they believe to be the wrong end of some of the worst officiating a playoff series can offer, the Bruins remain without Brandon Carlo and Kevan Miller. B’s netminder Tuukka Rask, battling through an injury he first suffered and later re-aggravated in March, was also lifted from Game 5 after two periods after he surrendered four goals on 16 shots and was “not 100 percent.”
The Bruins assume Rask will be healthy for Game 6, and there’s hope that one of Carlo and/or Miller will be back for Game 6.
Even if they’re not, McAvoy knows the challenge in front of his team.
“Just keep plugging away,” McAvoy said of the Black and Gold’s mindset. “I think everyone’s stepping up and we’re trying to work together as a group to pick up for those guys. You can’t replace the guys that are out of the lineup. So you just got to do it by committee, and that’s what we’re trying to do. Everyone’s trying to pull on the rope and it’s all you can do.”
And even after their most frustrating defeat yet, McAvoy made it clear Monday night: he didn’t hear no bell.
“This thing isn’t over,” said McAvoy.
The officials went way against the Bruins on Monday night. But it was far from Boston’s only problem.
Listen above to hear Matt Dolloff and Ty Anderson of 98.5 The Sports Hub break down the Bruins’ 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders in Game 5 Monday night at TD Garden. Although the egregious officiating will be perhaps the main topic for most, Boston’s defense and goaltending also was not nearly good enough.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.