It was just another day at the office for the future of the Boston blue line, as the 19-year-old Charlie McAvoy scored a goal, recorded an assist, and even dropped the gloves for the first Gordie Howe hat trick of his NHL career in a 7-2 win on Monday.
The goal was a pretty one, and the assist came last, but it was the fight that had people talking, as his battle with Pierre-Luc Dubois served as the first fight of his NHL career.
Learning how to defend himself thanks to some post-practice lessons from Tyler Randell during his brief time with the P-Bruins late last season, McAvoy didn’t go looking for trouble, but felt comfortable defending himself all the same.
“It definitely wasn’t even on the list,” McAvoy said of accomplishing the feat.
“I know that I try to play the game with a lot of passion, and that’s something he was doing too. Stuff like [fighting] is going to happen. There’s been times along the line this year where something that might have happened, but tonight it just did."
“It happened really quick. I felt like I was able to protect myself pretty well.”
The Black and Gold probably don’t want to see their 1B defenseman off the ice for five minutes on a regular basis (they actually can’t afford it), but nobody seemed to have a problem with him handling his business with a little scrap at the Garden.
“It’s two young guys, and that’s legit, and he’s going to have to do it periodically because he hits hard and you’d hate to see him get overmatched in a certain situation or go out looking for it when it’s unnecessary,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said of McAvoy’s fight.
“I think that just came together. It happens. He did very well; he’s a strong kid. I don’t know if historically he’s a guy that’s dropped – in college I don’t assume you do anyway – but if ever along the line. But he’s so strong and smart I imagine he’ll be able to handle himself, but so I think he’s 1-0 to start.”
McAvoy is the first Bruin to record a Gordie Howe hat trick since Zdeno Chara did it against the Rangers in Nov. 2013, and is the first teen to accomplish the feat in a B’s uniform since Milan Lucic did it against the Kings as a 19-year-old rookie back in 2007.