BOSTON — Charlie McAvoy still can’t help but think “What if?”
The Bruins defenseman was at the center of a potential series-turning non-call during Boston’s second-round Stanley Cup playoffs series against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Late in Game 4 against the Bolts, McAvoy appeared to be pulled down carrying the puck around the Boston net by Tampa Bay forward Nikita Kucherov. McAvoy lost control of the puck, which was gathered by J.T. Miller who fed Steven Stamkos for a one-time blast from the slot that beat Tuukka Rask to tie the game.
The Lightning then won the game in overtime, eventually taking the series in Game 5. The Bruins had issues with the officiating all series long, but it’s that non-call that still irked McAvoy when he spoke Wednesday at the team’s breakup day.
“It’s tough. I’m still not fully over it,” he said. “I mean, it sucks. That’s the turning point of the series. I don’t think there’s any way around it. … We had the momentum, and then in a split second right there, coming around the net like that, no call on the play and they tie it up. And then right away, it just kind of felt like everything changed there. It was really unfortunate.
“I can’t think of — I don’t know. I hope that, somehow, they have to answer for that and realize that it wasn’t right, you know, that it should have been a call because instead of being 2-2 going back to Tampa, feeling good, knowing that we can steal one and then win it at home, instead it’s 3-1. Now we’ve got to go down there and try to fight for our lives. It’s tough. It changed everything, but you know, it’s unfortunate, but I’ll get over it at some point.”
Disappointment, however, is part of life in the Stanley Cup playoffs. McAvoy now has two years of postseason experience under his belt and understands that dealing with the ebbs and flows of the playoffs is an important part of being a professional.
“It’s a grind, the playoffs,” he said. “But to get that experience fo going deeper this year and playing two rounds and feeling that adversity of being down the way we were, and the other form of being up 3-1 and kind of blowing that and having to save ourselves in Game 7, but kind of just being on that roller coaster that the playoffs are. It’s a lot of good that I can take from it, and experiences are — you know, (I’m) going to be able to pull from those for, hopefully, the coming years.”
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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