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Player of the Week: So many choices

Can there be only one?

NHL: New York Islanders at Boston Bruins Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins have made this week’s player of the week especially difficult, but in the best way. The Bruins outscored their opponents by a cumulative margin of 14-4 and went 3-0. They had three 200-foot efforts and got contributions from seemingly everyone.

With the exception of last week’s player of the week winner, Connor Clifton, and Jakob Lauko, every player on the roster contributed a point.

More than half the roster had multiple points in those three games. The Bruins benefitted from scoring from every line on the ice and almost every defenseman. This week there were many standouts, including Hampus Lindholm, Nick Foligno and Trent Frederic, but the winner was Charlie McAvoy.

Charles in Charge

McAvoy was the Bruins’ co-leader in points with four, along with Foligno. McAvoy’s first point of the week, an assist on David Pastrnak’s overtime-winning goal against the Dallas Stars, may have helped set the Bruins up for the performances they showed in their next two games.

The Stars had weathered a 37-shot performance out of the Bruins in a contest that had seen Boston get many high-quality scoring chances against an outstanding Jake Oettinger.

After Zacha tied the game midway through the third period and the Bruins killed off a penalty, McAvoy threaded a beautiful pass right into David Pastrnak’s wheelhouse, and he did the rest.

Until then, the Bruins were 1-3-1 in their last five games, and people, including the players, were starting to use the word “adversity.”

The Bruins were shot out of a cannon in the next two games, and so was McAvoy.

Almost everyone who watches the NHL has beaten this point to death this year, but it bares repeating one more time: the Bruins play their best when their defensemen join the offense.

Another classic example came when McAvoy helped on a second-period forecheck that eventually resulted in Patrice Bergeron’s pepper-style goal against the New York Islanders.

On this occasion, the Bruins weren’t even on an odd-man rush. The Islanders had regained a loose puck when McAvoy snuck down below the goal line and helped Bergeron trap two Islanders behind their own net.

McAvoy stole the puck and took a shot that would eventually result in a Jake DeBrusk rebound attempt and then Bergeron’s bunt from off the glass. That goal broke open the game for the Bruins.

For the Fancy Stats crowd, McAvoy had the highest 5-on-5 expected-goals percentage and Corsi-for percentage among Bruins defensemen at 63.28 and 58.67, respectively, meaning that when McAvoy was on the ice, the Bruins dominated possession and limited opportunities to the opposition more than any defenseman.

Those numbers matched pretty well with the eye test this week due to McAvoy’s actions on and off the puck.

Honorable Mention: Nick Foligno

Honorable mention was also a tight race this week between Lindholm, Foligno, and Frederic.

Lindholm made some unbelievable passes for assists this week, and Frederic woke up from a stretch of 15 games where he only had three points by scoring three goals in two games.

But Foligno continued his impressive bounce-back season. He had four points in two games, including this spin-o-rama assist to Frederic.

Foligno’s goal against the Islanders, and his set up of the McAvoy shot that led to the Frederic tip on the next goal, helped the Bruins to their second dominant victory in as many games.

Season standings

Connor Clifton - 1

Taylor Hall - 1

Charlie McAvoy - 1

Jeremy Swayman - 1

Linus Ullmark - 1