The most encouraging development from the Boston Bruins’ most recent wins: they’re getting perhaps the best versions of their two most important (and expensive) players.
Obviously, there’s David Pastrnak, who has eight goals in as many games and is now 2-for-2 on penalty shots. But even more promising is that defenseman Charlie McAvoy is starting to cash in offensively.
McAvoy scored his first goal of the season in Saturday night’s 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings, and is now up to a goal and four assists over his last four games. After his recent surge, he’s on pace for 10 goals and 62 assists in the early-going.
“I thought [McAvoy] started the year off well, and now I think he’s just dominating,” said head coach Jim Montgomery after the game. “Our other defensemen are playing really well, too. We’re blessed with our D-corps and we’re blessed with our goalies. We know that’s the strength of the team … that’s going to give us an opportunity to win every night.”
McAvoy has been an especially effective 5-on-5 player, thanks in part to his well-rounded game. Entering Saturday, he ranked sixth among all defensemen in on-ice expected goal percentage (xGF%) at 5-on-5 (minimum 120 minutes on ice). He’s allowing the 14th fewest shot attempts per 60 minutes when on the ice at 5-on-5 (53.0).
He’s 27th in on-ice shot attempts (65.5), a number that would most certainly be higher if he didn’t carry as much defensive responsibility in his own end. But it has been the aggression on offense that’s really stood out about McAvoy’s game so far this year.