Bruins' Charlie McAvoy to make season debut vs. Flames, play with Matt Grzelcyk

Charlie McAvoy to make season debut vs. Flames, play with Matt Grzelcyk originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Bruins are getting a superstar defenseman back in the lineup Thursday night when Charlie McAvoy makes his season debut versus the Calgary Flames at TD Garden.

Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery confirmed McAvoy's return to reporters after Thursday's morning skate.

McAvoy had shoulder surgery in June and was expected to be out until late November or early December, so he's a few weeks ahead of schedule in his rehab.

Why Montgomery deserves huge credit for Bruins' hot start to season

Montgomery said McAvoy will play alongside Matt Grzelcyk to begin Thursday's game. McAvoy and Grzelcyk played 418:28 of 5-on-5 ice time together over 70 games last season, and the Bruins outscored opponents 30-10 during those minutes, per Natural Stat Trick.

McAvoy is one of the five-best defensemen in the NHL as an elite two-way force. He's also a critical member of the team's power play and penalty kill. McAvoy finished fifth in Norris Trophy voting last season after tallying a career-high 56 points and helping the Bruins allow the fourth-fewest 5-on-5 goals.