Charlie McAvoy ejected from Bruins’ win over Panthers for a high hit on Oliver Ekman-Larsson


“The league reviews all those hits and they’ll let us know what their thoughts are.”

Charlie McAvoy #73 of the Boston Bruins commits an illegal check to the head against Oliver Ekman-Larsson #91 of the Florida Panthers during the third period at TD Garden on October 30, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Charlie McAvoy could face discipline from the NHL for his high hit on Oliver Ekman-Larsson on Monday. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Just 2:28 after he scored the Bruins’ game-tying goal against the Panthers, Charlie McAvoy had to spend the rest of Monday’s rematch against Florida in Boston’s dressing room.

The Bruins’ star defenseman was tossed from Boston’s eventual 3-2 overtime win over the Panthers at 9:28 in the final period of regulation — with McAvoy handed a match penalty for an illegal check to the head against Florida defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Shortly after he knotted the game up at 2-2 off his second tally in as many games, McAvoy trucked Ekman-Larsson in front of Florida’s net. With the puck off his stick, Ekman-Larsson was hit high by the Bruins’ blueliner, causing him to crumple to the ice.

Ekman-Larsson eventually made his way off the ice and remained out for the rest of Monday’s game. 

Postgame, Panthers head coach Paul Maurice said that McAvoy’s hit was similar to one he doled out against Carter Verhaeghe in the first period of play.

The Bruins, who had to play the remainder of Boston’s game with just four defensemen after Matt Grzelcyk exited earlier in the first period with an upper-body injury, managed to kill off all five minutes of McAvoy’s penalty en route to an overtime win.

But even with Monday’s impressive comeback victory, Boston could be shorthanded on its blue line ahead of Thursday’s home game against the Maple Leafs.

Not only is Grzelcyk expected to be out a “couple of weeks,” per Jim Montgomery, but McAvoy might receive additional discipline from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. A fine and/or suspension could be on the horizon for McAvoy if the league opts to review the hit.

“I saw it live,” Montgomery said of McAvoy’s hit. “I haven’t looked at it in depth. The league reviews all those hits and they’ll let us know what their thoughts are and we respect how the league goes about it. I think they do a real good process there.”

McAvoy has been suspended once before in his career, with the physical defenseman handed a one-game suspension during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs for a hit on then-Columbus forward Josh Anderson in the second round.