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Bruins top defenseman Charlie McAvoy sent home to rest upper-body injury

Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy (left) hasn't played since Monday's game against the Flyers.Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

WASHINGTON — The Bruins again were without No. 1 defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who was a late scratch prior to Tuesday’s game because of what the club termed an upper-body injury.

Cassidy sounded as if McAvoy, the team’s leading scorer on the back end (4-18—22), also will sit out Saturday’s matinee but perhaps suit up Sunday night.

McAvoy, who was in Philadelphia and scheduled to play, did not accompany the club here and instead returned home.

“He’s feeling better, back in Boston,” said Cassidy. “Not sure what his timeline would be. Saturday’s probably out of the question. I guess I’ll get the updates from the trainers and we’ll be looking at Sunday, seeing that he’s already back there.”


McAvoy showed no sign of getting hit in Monday night’s game against the Flyers in Boston, but had a number of small, seemingly inconsequential, facial nicks as he made his way to the dressing room after the game.

With McAvoy out of the mix, Matt Grzelcyk retained the point spot on the No. 1 power play, aided there by David Pastrnak (with Nick Ritchie, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand up front).

Steven Kampfer was the point man on the No. 2 power play, helped by David Krejci, backing a front line of Jake DeBrusk, Charlie Coyle, and Craig Smith.

Vaccination day?

The Rangers took Wednesday off for maintenance, specifically to allow all players to get vaccinated against COVID-19 if they so chose. A club statement on Wednesday reported that “many of our players and staff opted” to get vaccinated.

According to Cassidy, the Bruins have had “discussions” about a similar vaccination day, ideally later this month, provided guidelines set by the State House have been expanded, allowing age-eligible players and staff to have the shot.

“Hopefully it happens, simply because it’s their turn, once it’s their turn and anybody can get it,” he said. “I would hope our guys would want to do it, get it done and be a little bit safer.”


Cassidy added that he “heard April 19th was the next date in Massachusetts.”

“So I’m hoping that, if in fact that is the case, then our guys could go as a team,” he added.

Plan for Miller

Kevan Miller, who missed some seven weeks because his surgically repaired kneecap acted up in mid-February, was back in the lineup for a second straight game. He sat out the morning skate, something that will be standard practice the rest of the way. “I think we have a pretty good plan,” said Miller, adding that he probably won’t play on back-to-back nights in the near future. If so, he’ll sit out Saturday or Sunday . . . Miller on whether it remains strange to see Zdeno Chara in a Capitals uniform: “It’ll never be normal.” . . . The Bruins hotel here is near the Potomac River, and it has an outdoor courtyard that allowed players to sit out Wednesday, their day off, and soak up some sun and springtime atmosphere. “Kind of nice to be a bit of a human again and just sit outside,” noted Cassidy.

Blidh back in lineup

Anton Blidh drew back into the lineup, skating on the fourth line, because Trent Frederic was “under the weather,” according to Cassidy. The coach added that Frederic’s flu-like symptoms were not COVID-related . . . Chara’s ice time was down slightly, to 16:00, in part because the Capitals spent 9:34 on the power play and Big Z does not see the ice during man-advantages. He did log 4:39 on the penalty kill. . . From the broken record department: Patrice Bergeron again was dominant at the faceoff dot, winning 18 of 23 puck drops (78 percent). Patrice the Thief is one of 10 NHLers this season to take over 700 faceoffs, and he tops them all for winning percentage (62.9) . . . With McAvoy out, the beefy minutes on the back end went to Jeremy Lauzon (25:10) and Miller (25:18) . . .Miller also led the Bruins with five hits . . . Quiet night for the predatory Tom Wilson, though he did lead the Caps with five shots on net. He landed only one hit, and didn’t send anyone to the ER. Wilson and Miller both were seen chatting for a protracted period of time during the pre-game warmup, presumably with Miller reminding Wilson of the Bruins’ objection to the smack he put on Brandon Carlo last month that sidelined Carlo for three weeks.


Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at kevin.dupont@globe.com.