I am a contributing editor/writer/troublemaker for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk blog.

Charlie McAvoy debuts in huge role – and shines – for Bruins


The Boston Bruins threw 19-year-old defenseman Charlie McAvoy right into the deep end … and that unusual debut went swimmingly.

His first NHL appearance was Game 1 of the Bruins’ first-round series against the Ottawa Senators, and it’s not as though McAvoy was eased into the mix. Only Zdeno Chara logged more ice time (25:32 to McAvoy’s 24:11) for Boston. He actually led all skaters in ice time through the first two periods.

That’s what you call a trial by fire for the 14th pick of the 2016 NHL Draft.

Bruins vs. Senators: Stream it on NBC Sports

And, again, he fit in remarkably well. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy put it simply when he said that McAvoy was “terrific.”

Now, it’s one thing for your own coach to provide praise, even if some bench bosses sometimes want to keep a player’s head out of clouds. It’s another when P.K. Subban comparisons come about, and they’re not unreasonable:

As a reminder, Subban made an immediate impact for Montreal in 2009-10, playing a significant role in that run after appearing in only two games during the regular season.

The rave reviews are quite abundant.

With Colin Miller possibly added to an extensive injured list, the Bruins need all the help they can get. For all we know, these tough breaks might allow McAvoy to emerge as an immediate difference-maker.

Bruins steal ugly Game 1 win from stunned Senators


The playoffs are a time for stars to cement their statuses as legends. Still, there are also moments that raise your eyebrows and games where it’s better to be lucky rather than good.

The Ottawa Senators kept the Boston Bruins from even managing a shot on goal for more than a period of time in Game 1. Bobby Ryan scored a tremendous goal to put his team up 1-0, and with Colin Miller added to the Bruins’ growing injury list, things looked grim.

Those injuries aren’t wiped away by winning … but for at least one night, that bad stuff didn’t really matter.

Bruins vs. Senators: Stream it on NBC Sports

Frank Vatrano broke that lull with a key third-period goal and (you guessed it) Brad Marchand delivered the game-winning dagger goal as the Bruins beat the Senators 2-1 to win Game 1.

Much like with the Rangers in Montreal, the Bruins managed to take away home-ice advantage and leave the crowd stunned.

Rangers break glass on Habs’ home-ice advantage with Game 1 win


Plenty of people expected a goalie duel between Henrik Lundqvist and Carey Price. In Game 1, Lundqvist took the advantage in a 2-0 win.

Basically no one expected that Tanner Glass would own the game-winning goal (and the first tally of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs) as the New York Rangers stunned the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.

It’s the first time the Canadiens have been shut out at home in a Game 1 of a series since 1983, according to Hockey Night in Canada.

Rangers vs. Canadiens: Stream it on NBC Sports

By no means was this a poor effort by the Canadiens, especially considering that they carried big chunks of play. Still, they couldn’t solve a game Lundqvist, and that Glass goal surprised Price as much as anyone else.

Moments like these increasingly frustrated the Canadiens:

It was also a pretty nasty game, something to watch as this series goes along.

Considering the Rangers’ advantage in standings points during the regular season, it might be a misnomer to consider this an “upset,” but Habs fans left the building in some disbelief on Wednesday night.

Ultimately, they have Lundqvist – and, yes, Glass – to thank for that.

WATCH LIVE: Five games kick off 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs


It’s really happening, everyone.

After a rigorous season, the playoffs begin on Wednesday … and with gusto. Hockey fans get treated to five action-packed Game 1 bouts spread across NBCSN, USA Network and NHL Network. You can see the announce teams, start times, networks and streaming links for each contest below. Enjoy.

New York Rangers at Montreal Canadiens

Time: 7 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)

Call: Gord Miller, Ray Ferraro

Boston Bruins at Ottawa Senators

Time: 7 p.m. ET

Network: NHL Network (Stream online here)

Call: Bob Cole, Greg Millen

Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Network: USA Network (Stream online here)

Call: Doc Emrick, Pierre McGuire

St. Louis Blues at Minnesota Wild

Time: 9:30 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)

Call: John Forslund, Brian Boucher

San Jose Sharks at Edmonton Oilers

Time: 10 p.m. ET

Network: USA Network (Stream online here)

Call: Brendan Burke, Mike Johnson

High-impact, knee-to-knee collision between Zuccarello, Gallagher (Video)

Could we see a cruiserweight battle in the New York Rangers – Montreal Canadiens series?

Some are wondering as much, as the disdain between Mats Zuccarello and Brendan Gallagher seems to be building. One might assume that Gallagher was the main culprit, but Zuccarello’s knee-to-knee-hit may be the real catalyst.

Rangers vs. Canadiens: Stream it live on NBC Sports

You can see that hit (and judge it for yourself) by viewing the video above.

Habs onlookers weren’t happy:

Others wonder if we’ll see an especially rare fight.

It wasn’t the only instance of nastiness between the Rangers and Canadiens so far in Game 1.