Boston — It was a fine night for NHL debuts in Boston.
Jake DeBrusk tallied and added an assist in his first career contest, while Anders Bjork picked up his first pro helper. For rookie defender Charlie McAvoy, his debut wasn’t his first pro rodeo.
The former Boston University defenseman scored what will go down in the record books as his first career point when he assisted on DeBrusk’s goal, and then his own goal later in the second period. It will also be marked as his first career game, but that might need an asterisk beside it.
“I skated as fast as I could up the ice there,” said McAvoy about his goal. “I wasn’t really sure that he was there, I was concerned with trying to make something happen.”
McAvoy’s first appearance in the NHL was in last season’s Bruins-Senators first round playoff series. After being in the team’s plans since his poised postseason debut, he’s still considered a rookie who just played in his first official NHL contest.
McAvoy has graced the Garden ice even before his playoff appearances, playing as a member of the Terriers in the Beanpot and Hockey East playoffs. A lot of nerves that might come from a first game were cast aside.
“I think more confidence with the puck, more patience,” he said. “I feel a little more calm out there on the ice. Everyone was giving me great outlets all night on passes. Played with Kevan Miller and he’s a pro.”
Needless to say, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy was impressed with McAvoy and the other rookies.
“They’re all quiet,” he said. “We’ve seen them now for three weeks, the way they carry themselves. They’re good pros. You see them working out after practice. They are not being led by the hand to do it. They are working on their game. They are receptive to the assistant coaches taking them aside. They missed a few shifts here and there, the forwards anyway, and they bounced right back. So they are able to stay in the game.”
McAvoy’s goal made the Bruins lead 3-1 late in the second period, and gave the team a bit more space to work with.
“I was calling for it,” he said. “I think it was kind of a weird play. I haven’t watched it yet, but I think out of the corner of my eye I kind of realized that Anders is there too. If I took it from him I’m sorry but I’m sure no one’s upset the puck went in the net.”
Another note for the former BU blueliner was the appearance of Matt Grzelcyk on the ice. The former Terrier captain was McAvoy’s defensive partner during the latter’s freshman season.
“It’s great,” said McAvoy. “It’s awesome to play with Grizzy. He’s one of my best friends on the team, he’s taken care of me since I was a freshman at BU. It means a lot to be with a guy like that. He played a phenomenal game. When he’s called upon he’s so reliable and smooth and poised with the puck. To play with Grizzy, to see him be great, it’s awesome and I know he thinks the same of me, so it’s special.”
The youth movement finally looks like its in affect in Boston, and McAvoy has a lot to do with it. The play from all three rookies has the team feeling positive about where they are at.
“It’s awesome for the three of us to get that out of the way,” said McAvoy. “Now you can roll. Points aren’t everything, but for offense guys like Jake and Anders, and myself, we try to contribute. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is get that zero out of the way on the point column.”