In the dying seconds of tonight’s Game 5, the Bruins were desperately holding onto a one-goal lead. The puck landed on the stick of Brad Marchand with just a handful of seconds to go, and Marchand appeared to have an easy clear.
Instead, he turned the puck over inside the defensive zone, and, as they had done multiple times in the third period, Columbus turned it into a quick-strike offense opportunity, with the puck landing on the stick of their best player, Artemi Panarin.
He fired a rocket toward the net, but Charlie McAvoy had other ideas.
McAvoy’s clutch block would be Columbus’ last real opportunity, and shortly after McAvoy skated off the ice hunched over in pain, his teammates celebrated a win that he preserved by throwing his body in front of the puck.
His thoughts on the block?
“You want to leave your imprint on the game in any way possible,” he said. “I got lucky. I threw my body out there, and I was fortunate enough that it hit me. Whatever it takes, right?”
McAvoy had already left quite an imprint on the game, skating a team-high 24:31 and looking like one of the more dangerous Bruins on the ice all night.
In the end, however, it wasn’t an end-to-end rush or a perfect pass that got the job done. It was a blocked shot.
Equally impressive, really, was the fact that McAvoy blocked the shot, then had the wherewithal to kind of just flop on the puck to waste some more time. For a guy known more for his skating and offensive instincts, it ended up being a gritty play that got the job done.
McAvoy stood barefoot in the locker room answering questions, and walked without any boot or trace of a limp. It appears, for now, that the Bruins dodged a bullet, and that they’ll have McAvoy available for Game 6.
They’re just lucky he decided not to dodge that bullet in the final seconds.