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Bruins’ McAvoy to have NHL hearing for check to head against Blue Jackets’ Anderson

The Boston Bruins will play in the Eastern Conference final for the first time in six years, though they could be without key defenceman Charlie McAvoy to open the series against Carolina.

The second-year NHLer will have a telephone hearing with the league’s department of player safety Tuesday for his actions in Monday’s series-clinching victory over Columbus.

With 20 seconds left in the second period, McAvoy delivered a head-first hit to Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson. Referee Kelly Sutherland motioned to eject the Bruins blue-liner from the game before reversing his decision, assessing McAvoy a two-minute penalty.

According to NHL rules, illegal checks to the head can’t result in major penalties, only minor or match penalties assessed at the referee’s discretion.

Columbus captain Nick Foligno said after the game that Sutherland told him he didn’t believe Anderson was injured, despite being stretched out on the ice grabbing his face. Anderson returned to the game in the third period.

McAvoy, 21, is second to fellow defeceman Zdeno Chara on the Bruins in these playoffs with a plus-8 rating to go with a goal and six points in 13 games while averaging a team-leading 24 minutes 46 seconds of ice time.

In 54 regular-season contests, McAvoy collected 28 points and was plus-14.

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