NEW YORK — Charlie McAvoy unwrapped the ice bag on his leg, showered, changed into a suit and met with reporters. He was due for more ice, and some rest.
“I’ve felt better,” said McAvoy. “You’ve got to take care of your body. I’ll start that right now, and get ready for the next game.”
In a meat grinder of a date with the Islanders, McAvoy and the Bruins emerged with a 3-2 overtime win at Barclays Center on Saturday, erasing the memories of a tilted first period and a lost third-period lead.
With 3:27 left in OT, Patrice Bergeron had time to collect the puck in the slot, rear back, and fire past Semyon Varlamov, giving Boston (27-8-11) its third straight win to open a three-game road trip.
“We won an overtime game,” McAvoy noted with a smile. It was the first time the Bruins won in extras since Nov. 29, when they beat the Rangers at home. They improved to 3-5 in overtime. They remain 0-6 in shootouts. That’s a problem for another day.
“That thing kind of takes on a life of its own,” defenseman John Moore said. “But if you battle, you work hard, things seem to go your way in this league. We got rewarded and we got a power play. Our power play is what it is.”
Which is to say it is capable, efficient and talented. Brad Marchand drew a tripping call 40 seconds into overtime, causing Islander Brock Nelson to stick out his foot as he performed a spin-o-rama past him.
Torey Krug carried into the zone, drew a pair of Islanders toward him, and sent a centering feed to Bergeron, who scored his 19th of the year. The Bruins (1 for 2) produced a power-play goal for a club-record 13th game in a row (15 for 48, 31.3 percent).
Moore and Jake DeBrusk also scored for the Bruins, who were fortunate to escape the first period down, 1-0, on a goal from Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield at 4:36. The visitors were outshot, 14-5, and Tuukka Rask (35 saves) faced a firing squad.
“We were kind of crummy early on,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Then we got going.”
A late-period penalty kill helped, a stint in which the Bruins (1 for 1 on the PK) allowed zero shots. Clear-headed after intermission, DeBrusk tied the game at 8:33 of the second, pouncing on a sharp-angle rebound that clanked off Mayfield and eluded Varlamov (30 saves). It was the third in two games for DeBrusk (14 goals), who factored in the final four goals of Thursday’s win over Winnipeg.
McAvoy, still without a goal on the year, made the goal happen by activating from his own blue line, taking a feathery cross-ice pass from David Krejci, and taking the open ice in front of him. He cut into the slot and put a shot on goal through traffic. McAvoy (0-16—16 in 43 games) played nearly half the game (28 minutes, 53 seconds), landed five hits and blocked four shots. He also stabbed the puck out of midair on a 2 on 1 against in the second period, which was a relief for him.
“I worked on that in practice,” said McAvoy, beat for the winning goal in Boston’s most recent overtime loss, Jan. 2 against the Blue Jackets. “I got backdoored good in that Columbus game.”
Moore gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead at 5:48 of the third, firing an icebound shot through a screen set by Brett Ritchie.
The Bruins lost the lead on Mathew Barzal’s goal at 9:33 of the third. Barzal escaped from David Krejci in the slot, and Josh Bailey found him with a centering pass.
“They played heavy, we responded, there were momentum swings both ways,” Moore said. “If not for Tuukka in that first 20, you wonder where we’d be. You don’t want to stick with that recipe.”
Boston, which continues a three-game road set at Philadelphia (Monday) and finishes in Columbus (Tuesday), left Brooklyn with a few bumps and bruises.
Saturday, the Islanders blocked 19 shots, the Bruins 18. Johnny Boychuk, the jovial former Bruins defenseman nicknamed “Johnny Rocket,” dropped McAvoy and Joakim Nordstrom with slappers. “Undercover bad guy,” Marchand cracked. Neither felled Bruin missed a shift.
Others weren’t as lucky. Matt Grzelcyk’s night ended 5:25 in, when the defenseman took an uncalled slash to the back of the leg from New York’s Derick Brassard. Grzelcyk, who appeared to have lower body issues even before that slash, went for X-rays Saturday.
Before the Bergeron winner, unfortunate Islanders penalty killer Casey Cizikas deflected a David Pastrnak slapper into his own groin. Cizikas left under his own power.
New York outshot Boston, 37-33. The Islanders (27-12-4), fourth in the league in goals against (2.56 per game), don’t typically allow quality or quantity. Neither do the Bruins (second; 2.46). Natural Stat Trick recorded the scoring chances at 37-29, Islanders.
“I thought it was a great game tonight,” Bergeron said. “It was fun to be a part of it. Even though it was a low-scoring game, there were a lot of things happening. I thought both teams were skating well, creating, but also tight checking, not much space out there. That’s what we’re going to see down the road.”
He was referring to the playoffs, where the bruises and ice bags pile up, and these teams could meet again.