Eric Bolte/USA Today Sports

Bruins ready to welcome Charlie McAvoy back to lineup

Ty Anderson
February 03, 2018 - 2:59 pm

With wins in three of the four games he missed, the Bruins more than found a way to survive with Charlie McAvoy (heart procedure) on the shelf. That being said, it didn’t take much in any of those four games to realize just how badly he was missed.

Despise a McAvoy-less win against the Devils, McAvoy’s presence was undoubtedly missed by Zdeno Chara in a rare off-night for the B’s 6-foot-9 captain. And when the Bruins saw their 18-game point come to an end against the Ducks earlier this week, it was painfully apparent that the Bruins missed McAvoy’s strong first pass and power-play poise in what finished as an 0-for-4 night on the man advantage. They also lost Kevan Miller (upper-body) in the final of those four games, a 3-1 win on Thursday.

So, needless to say, the Bruins are excited to get their 20-year-old No. 2 d-man back for tonight’s seemingly important head-to-head with the Maple Leafs.

Sentiments shared by McAvoy himself.

“Excited, excited” a grinning McAvoy said when asked about his feelings returning to to action. “Doesn’t feel like I was gone too long. Somewhat of a quick two weeks.

“Always hard when you’re on that little couch rest there, and when you’re sitting around, it does tend to feels longer than it is,” he continued. “But in the grand scheme of things, to be ready to go within two weeks of the procedure was our goal, and something we thought was attainable. But everything was going to have to line up, and it did.”

But for somebody that’s played as much hockey as McAvoy has since the start of last season (he played for Boston University, Team USA in the World Juniors, the Providence Bruins, the Big B’s, and then another Team USA run for the World Championships in 2016-17), and as somebody that’s already logged an insane amount of NHL minutes this season, the two-week breather was almost welcomed.

“At this point, 40-something games in, a week and a half to relax and rest, it's pretty beneficial as far as the muscles and bumps and bruises, even the mindset to take a week away from the rink,” McAvoy, who admitted he’ll probably keep his first few shifts short to get his feet back under him, said at Warrior Ice Arena on Saturday.

“I'm going to do the best I can to help this team keep going, keep trending in the right direction,” the smiling No. 73 added. “They were playing really well without me. Gotta come back and make sure I'm a positive part of the lineup.”

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