BOSTON — Zdeno Chara made his NHL debut 32 days before Charlie McAvoy was born. Now, the 19-year-old rookie might be the 40-year-old Bruins captain’s new defensive partner.
McAvoy, who signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Bruins on Monday, skated with Chara as part of Boston’s top D-pairing during Tuesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena.
With defensemen Torey Krug (lower body injury) and Brandon Carlo (upper body) both expected to miss Game 1 of the Bruins’ first-round playoff series against the Ottawa Senators, McAvoy — who played his final game at Boston University less than three weeks ago — should make his NHL debut Wednesday night at Canadian Tire Centre.
McAvoy also filled Krug’s usual spot on the Bruins’ top power-play unit during practice, skating alongside Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy could be seen having lengthy conversations with the young blueliner both before and after the session.
The Bruins drafted McAvoy 14th overall in 2016. He spent two seasons at BU before turning pro, tallying eight goals and 43 assists in 75 games for the Terriers.
Krug and Carlo both did not participate in Tuesday’s practice, nor did forwards David Krejci, Dominic Moore and Noel Acciari.
Acciari spent close to 40 minutes on the ice before practice began, skating through drills in a red non-contact jersey. Cassidy confirmed Acciari won’t play in Game 1, but he could be back for Game 2. Krejci and Moore are both expected to play in the series opener.
Acciari, who tallied two goals and three assists in 29 games this season, suffered an upper body injury in last Thursday’s shootout loss to the Senators and missed Saturday’s regular-season finale as a result.
The Bruins had three goalies present at practice: Tuukka Rask, Anton Khudobin and Zane McIntyre. McIntyre was called up from Providence on an emergency basis Monday after Khudobin left Saturday’s game with an illness.
Thumbnail photo via Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY Sports Images