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Bruins get right back on track with strong win over Detroit

Bruins back to where they left off
WATCH: Jim McBride goes deep on the Bruins start to the season, analyzing Matthew Poitras’ impact in the top-6 and what to make of Jake Debrusk’s slow start.

It’s Halloween season, time to get out those Chucky masks.

No, not that foul-mouthed, freckle-faced ginger from the “Child’s Play” fame. We’re talking Charlie McAvoy, the scariest defenseman this side of Elm Street.

For the second straight game, McAvoy was a terror for the Bruins and a nightmare for their opponent. McAvoy scored his first goal of the season — which stood as the eventual winner — as the Bruins bounced back from their first loss with a 4-1 win over the Red Wings at TD Garden Saturday.

David Pastrnak scored twice in the third period, including another highlight penalty shot tally to go with his empty netter, to help seal the win.


Affectionately called “Chucky” by his teammates, McAvoy was at his assertive best against the Red Wings: moving the puck at will, finding creases to deliver crisp passes, and lanes to take the puck to the net.

“I think Charlie is, in the last little while … I thought he started the year off well and now I think he’s just dominating,” said coach Jim Montgomery.

The Bruins struck first on the power play after Michael Rasmussen drilled Matt Poitras into the boards. Rasmussen’s nose was still a bit out of joint after he was thumped by Kevin Shattenkirk.

With Rasmussen stewing, the Bruins power play started cooking.

After Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and Pavel Zacha nearly lit the lamp, Zacha finally rang the bell.

Pastrnak sent it around to Marchand, who stepped in and zapped one off Ville Husso’s pads, and the rebound landed right on Zacha’s stick, and he buried it.

Pastrnak and Marchand were credited with the assists, but it was James van Riemsdyk’s dirty work at the front of the net — he was commanding the attention of both defensemen — that created space for his power-play partners to work their tic-tac-toe act.


After posting three assists on Thursday, McAvoy continued his torrid run when he doubled the Bruins lead with his first of the season.

The swift defenseman bolted through the neutral zone and around the left dot before powering to the net. Husso appeared to have the net locked down, but McAvoy’s backhander snuck between the goalie’s pads.

Traffic in front again was key, as Patrick Brown and Oskar Steen, who just reported for duty earlier in the day after his call-up from Providence, were occupying the defenders in front, allowing McAvoy to go full bore at the net.

“I was sort of in a little bit of an in-between there in the neutral zone. And then as soon as I thought I could win the race, I just went and tried to use my speed to get down the wall, so I did it,” said McAvoy. “And it’s kind of like that area where you’re looking and maybe you’re going around the net and seeing if you can find somebody.

“But I thought, it’s sort of split second, I thought I could cut across. I guess good things happen when you go to the net. It’s nice to get rewarded.”

Down at the other end Jeremy Swayman (22 saves) could only marvel as he watched McAvoy.

“I got the best seat in the house with that guy,” said Swayman. “So talented with the puck, unbelievable vision and he just brings guys up around him, true leader and just to see him charge a net like that again, it’s one of our game plans and obviously to get rewarded is something special to see.


“But that’s both ends of the ice,” Swayman added. “He boxes out well, he communicates well and that’s why he’s one of the top D-men in the league.”

Boston continued its territorial edge in the second period, limiting the Red Wings’ time in the offensive zone and attacking at all times. Even when shorthanded, the Bruins carried the play.

Through 40 minutes, Detroit had landed just 13 shots on Swayman’s cage.

Joe Veleno got the Red Wings on the board 6:40 into the third period, trimming the deficit to 2-1. But unlike Thursday night against the Ducks, the Bruins (7-0-1) didn’t panic. Instead, they capitalized on their chances to extend the lead.

For the second straight Saturday night, Pastrnak was awarded a penalty shot after being slashed on a breakaway.

Pastrnak slowly sashayed his way toward Husso, paused, faked a deke, and then went bar down to send the Garden crowd into a frenzy.

He iced the game when he banked in an empty netter off the center boards that trickled slowly into the net. Minnesota Fats would have been proud.

Patrick Brown asked Pastrnak on the bench if he was a good pool player, and at first the crack didn’t resonate.

“I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ Is he trying to play some pool tonight? So, I told him, ‘No, I’m terrible,’ ‘’ said Pastrnak.


His hockey, however, is far from terrible.

“I think he asked me what to do on the [penalty shot],” said Swayman. “He came by me, and I just smiled at him. I just knew it was going in.”

Boston Globe Today: Sports | October 27, 2023
Watch the full episode of Boston Globe Today: Sports from October 27, 2023.

Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him @globejimmcbride.