The NHL season is a grind, especially in this year’s shortened 56-game slate. Although it is not as long as usual, the NHL is packing in more games per week for each team. With as many as four games a week, with many on back-to-back nights, players have little opportunity to rest. This makes it more difficult to sustain high levels of play for an extended period of time. Some can do it better than others. Each week, we will take a look at players on the Boston Bruins who are on a hot or cold streak. This week we look at Charlie McAvoy and Jaroslav Halak.
Hot and Cold Streaks
Hot Streak: Charlie McAvoy
Boston only played two games this week due to COVID-19 related postponements. In those two games, Charlie McAvoy put the entire league on notice. He wants that Norris Trophy. His crisp passing ability resulted in three assists this week. All three goals were primary assists, showing that when he has the puck on his stick, he is capable of finding the right outlet. McAvoy had an assist on goals from Steven Kampfer and Karson Kuhlman this week. Both goals were the first of the season for the scorers.
Charlie McAvoy’s third assist this week really put his skating ability on display. The young defenceman skated circles around the offensive zone looking for a shot or passing opportunity. He put on a clinic of patience. He didn’t try to force anything or make a risky play. Instead, the 23-year-old held onto the puck and found the right outlet. He passed to Nick Ritchie resulting in the game-tying goal for the Bruins. If Boston’s best young defenceman can keep this play up, he could eventually find his name amongst some of the other storied defencemen in Bruins history.
Cold Streak: Jaroslav Halak
While no Bruins goalie has played more than one game this week, Halak earned his spot in this week’s piece in relief of Tuukka Rask. Rask left Boston’s game against the New York Islanders on Thursday after just one period. He appeared to re-aggravate an injury that caused him to miss a stretch of games earlier this month. Thankfully for Bruins fans, Jaroslav Halak is one of the best backups in the NHL. He did not earn that title this week.
In his lone appearance, Halak came into the game with a two-goal lead. He came away with an overtime loss. Halak allowed three straight goals to his former Islanders teammates. That cannot be allowed to happen. A backhand shot from Oliver Wahlstrom went top shelf over Halak’s shoulder. He also allowed one over his right shoulder from Josh Bailey earlier in the game. While Halak cannot be blamed for a crisp passing play resulting in a J-G Pageau goal, the other two could have been stopped more easily.
Halak’s biggest mistake came in overtime. Just 21 seconds into extra time, Halak stops the first shot but left a juicy rebound right in front of a wide-open net. Anthony Beauvillier did not miss. Boston needed better play from Halak. He should have time to bounce back as Boston is without starter Tuukka Rask.