RALEIGH, NC – Boston Bruins star defender Charlie McAvoy has cleared COVID-19 protocols and will take warm up in anticipation of playing vs Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday night in Game 5, the team announced.
After the morning skate, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters that McAvoy and the defender Hampus Lindholm (upper body injury) would miss Tuesday’s match. Cassidy said there was no timeline for McAvoy’s return, but that he was already “feeling better.”
However, sources told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan that McAvoy arrived later in the day via a private jet arranged by Brown’s ownership and that he entered the PNC Arena wearing an N95 mask in time for warm-up.
The veteran’s return can be a big boost as the Bruins try to take a 3-2 league lead on the road. McAvoy was a late scratch for the Game 4 victory Sunday in Boston, and Lindholm has not played since being equalized on a shaky shoulder-to-chest punch from Carolina’s. Andrei Svechnikov in the team’s match 2 losses. Cassidy said Lindholm did not travel to North Carolina for Game 5.
McAvoy and Lindholm worked together as Boston’s best defensive pair in Game 1 before Cassidy juggled the lineup for Game 2, moving Matt Grzelcyk up to play alongside McAvoy and put Lindholm next Brandon Carlo.
McAvoy’s presence strengthens the backline in several ways for the Bruins. He would most likely lead Boston defenders within minutes of the game and would likely see time on powerplay and penalty kicks.
McAvoy, 24, is a former first-round pick who has scored 10 goals and 56 points this season for the Bruins. He has two assists in this series and has an average of 25:15 minutes. McAvoy has been in the playoffs every year in his NHL career.
The Bruins fell into a 0-2 gap before coming together with two wins at TD Garden.