Sunday afternoon wasn’t Charlie McAvoy’s day.
McAvoy’s offensive woes continued in the Bruins’ ugly 4-3 loss to the Penguins, but it was a defensive miscue that highlighted the young defenseman’s forgettable outing at PPG Paints Arena.
With Pittsburgh surging after erasing a 3-0 Boston edge, Evgeni Malkin forced McAvoy into a turnover behind the Bruins’ net with a little over seven minutes left to play in the third period. Malkin simply employed stronger puck pursuit than McAvoy and finished the play by dishing a short pass to Bryan Rust, who gave the Pens a lead they would not relinquish.
Four. Straight. @penguins. Goals.
— NHL (@NHL) January 19, 2020
Bruce Cassidy didn’t mince words after the game, noting it was an error McAvoy just can’t commit in that situation.
“Can’t turn the puck over there,” he said, per Adam Gretz of NHL on NBC Sports. “There’s too much of that going on. Guys that have offensive ability have to start playing to their strength a little more on our back end, or we have to seriously consider what type of D corps do we want. We are supposed to be mobile. We are supposed to be able to move the puck, break pucks out and add to our offense. Right now that is a challenge for us.”
McAvoy was accountable for his shortcomings but also tipped his cap to Malkin.
“There are good players in this league,” McAvoy said, per NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty. “They make good plays. I need to be stronger on the puck.”
Here are some other notes from Bruins-Penguins:
— With his first-period goal, David Pastrnak became the first Bruins player since Cam Neely and Adam Oates in the 1993-94 campaign to log 70 points in 50 or fewer games, per NHL Public Relations.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) January 19, 2020
— The Bruins drew first blood 11 seconds into the game when Patrice Bergeron scored his 21st goal of the season. The tally fell three seconds shy of the franchise’s fastest game-opening goal mark set by Brad Marchand, who scored eight seconds into a contest in February 2016, per NHL PR.
— Marchand and Kris Letang engaged in a brief scrap in the second period after the Bruins winger ducked an incoming hit from the Penguins defenseman. Letang clearly wasn’t pleased with what transpired.
Letang on Marchand ducking from hits: “He almost broke my knee.”
— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_PGH) January 19, 2020
— Entering Sunday, the Bruins were 200-1-6 when leading by at least three goals, per NHL.com’s Wes Crosby.
— The Bruins should have known to not count the Penguins out, as the second leg of the teams’ home-and-home series marked Pittsburgh’s third three-goal comeback win of the season, per NHL PR.
Thumbnail photo via John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports Images