Charlie McAvoy of the Boston Bruins won’t face supplemental discipline for his hit on Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal.
The B’s blueliner delivered a hard check on Staal that sent the Carolina forward to the locker room. The hit came with 10:07 remaining in the third period of Monday’s Game 4, with the Bruins trailing 2-1.
“I started skating backwards, tried to kind of take a proper angle there,” said McAvoy. “You want to make sure all your stuff is in, so you don’t deliver a dirty hit. You never hope to injure someone.”
“All I’m thinking is to try and separate a man from the puck and try get us possession back as quick as possible so we can play offense and try and tie the game up. That was really my only thought process. The game moves so fast and I just wanted to deliver a clean check and just do my job.”
No penalty was called on the play by referees Trevor Hanson and Eric Furlatt.
Staal left the game and the Bruins found theirs.
“The reaction of the bench [was huge],” said Boston’s Jake DeBrusk. “It’s so weird without fans, to be honest with you. Anytime there’s a big play or a good scoring chance, the only way you know is by the bench reaction. Obviously, it was a big hit and it was a good moment for us. That’s when we were coming hard.”
The Bruins, fired up by the thunderous hit, picked up their game, scoring the next three goals to jump ahead 4-2.
“When one of your veteran players, a leader in your room, or really a respected player in this league, takes a good hard clean hit, it affects your group,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “So it affected us positively and probably them in a negative manner. They lose a guy that’s a shutdown centerman and had been doing a real good job against Bergy’s line that game, so for us it really helped.”
NBC Sports confirmed that Player Safety would not be taking any action on the play.
The NHL Department of Player Safety deemed the hip check a perfectly clean hit, and as such it wasn’t penalized on the ice and wouldn’t be subject to any discipline at all, per a league source.
If anything, the NHL would point at the McAvoy hit as the exact kind of intense, physical and clean play that the league is looking for during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Staal is a game-time decision for Wednesday’s Game 5.