Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy nearing return
The injury-plagued Boston Bruins are battling through their adversity. Goal scoring, lineup changes and frequent call-ups from Providence are the main issues facing the team, to name a few. Yet they’re staying afloat while allowing the fewest goals in the NHL despite having a defensive unit full of undersized puck movers.
It isn’t pretty, but Bruce Cassidy’s strict formula of late is working. The Bruins (4-1-2 in their last seven) are eeking out points by the narrowest of margins thanks to their attention to detail on the defensive and opportunistic power play.
Boston will have its hands full over the next week when they go up against top-caliber opponents like the Lightning and Maple Leafs. But they’ll at least have some reinforcements coming back to the lineup shortly.
Both Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy made significant strides in their recovery process and joined their teammates on the Warrior Ice Arena surface this week.
Carlo (upper-body), who last appeared in the Bruins’ lineup on Nov. 10, made his first appearance with the team on Wednesday. He joined McAvoy (head) in a pre-morning skate twirl before Thursday’s contest with the New York Islanders.
Cassidy noted that Carlo, who missed Boston’s 2-1 shootout win over the Isles, is “close.” His return could come as soon as Saturday when the Bruins host the Red Wings.
“Carlo looks good. He’s doing a little extra right now and will be a game-time decision,” Cassidy said about his 6-foot-5 defenseman. “But it looks like he’s moved to probable from the other night.”
The 22-year-old participated in all of the team drills on Friday, making him more likely to return Saturday night.
McAvoy’s status is a little more uncertain, but Friday’s practice — albeit in a maroon no-contact sweater — marked another encouraging day for the former Boston University Terrier.
“He’s doing a little more work, which is again progressing well,” Cassidy said about McAvoy. “Once he’s out of that…maroon jersey and practicing full-go then we can obviously start projecting him.”
The 20-year-old is a rather peculiar story. The aftermath from his exit in Edmonton on Oct. 18 was rather dubious until GM Don Sweeney confirmed McAvoy’s injury a couple weeks later.
McAvoy is slowly progressing through concussion protocols and working his way back into playing condition. The Bruins remain optimistic that their promising top-line defenseman will return sooner rather than later.