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Birthday boy McAvoy's shootout goal wins it for B's

The Sports Xchange

December 21. 2017 10:52PM
Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy scores the game-winning goal on Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck during the shootout at TD Garden. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

BOSTON — Defenseman Charlie McAvoy celebrated his 20th birthday with the shootout winner, giving the Boston Bruins their third straight victory, a 2-1 decision over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.

Tuukka Rask got help from the post in turning aside Nikolaj Ehlers’ fourth-round shot and McAvoy beat Connor Hellebuyck at the other end to win it.

The loss dropped the Jets (20-10-6) to 1-14-1 in the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise’s last 16 games at TD Garden.

Bryan Little opened the shootout competition with a goal against Rask, who improved to just 22-29 in shootouts. David Pastrnak also scored in the shootout for the Bruins (18-10-5).

Rask, who is 7-0-1 in his last eight starts, made 37 saves in the game’s 65 minutes.

Boston’s Torey Krug and Winnipeg’s Patrick Laine swapped third-period goals less than a minute apart to set up the overtime.

Hellebuyck, who played two years of college hockey at UMass-Lowell, made 32 saves but fell to 0-2-1 against the Bruins in his young career.

Krug received an errant clearing pass by Winnipeg defenseman Tucker Poolman, moved in and fired a wrist shot home 8:16 into the period but the lead didn’t last long.

Boston’s Sean Kuraly fell down playing the puck behind his net. Little picked it up and got it in front to Ehlers, who in turn sent it over to Laine. With an open side, Laine took his time and scored for the third game in a row just 57 seconds after the Bruins had taken the lead.

Hellebuyck stopped 135 of 136 shots he faced in college games at TD Garden. His first two NHL appearances against the Bruins were in Winnipeg.

NOTES: The Bruins placed C David Krejci (back) on injured reserve and he won’t return until at least after the holiday break. ... Boston was also missing C Riley Nash and LW Ryan Spooner (illness) with C Colby Cave recalled from Providence on an emergency basis for his NHL debut. ... Bruins LW Brad Marchand also missed the morning skate because of illness but played. ... The Jets came in tied for the NHL lead in December goals with 36. ... Winnipeg’s Paul Maurice coached his 1,401st NHL game and will move into eighth place on the league’s all-time list when the Jets visit the New York Islanders Saturday. ... The Bruins host the Detroit Red Wings Saturday afternoon.