BOSTON -- Adam McQuaid missed several weeks while working his way back from a headneck injury, and --unfortunately -- he found himself in the thick of things in his first game back for the Bruins.
McQuaid was on the ice for both goals allowed, and committed a rough turnover on an errant pass intercepted by Tomas Plekanec for the game-winning goal in Montreals 2-1 victory over the slumping Bruins at TD Garden. Plekanec took the errant McQuaid pass aimed for Patrice Bergeron in the neutral zone, moved into the offensive zone with speed in the third period and didnt give up when his first shot was blocked by McQuaids imposing 6-foot-4 frame. The puck bounced right back onto his stick and Tim Thomas was too late scrambling to regain position.
McQuaid blocked it first and it blocked right back to him, that always messes everything up, all the angles and everything, said Thomas, who made 33 stops in defeat. Then you have Plekanec, I mean he took a shot from ten feet away, hes a goal scorer.
Claude Julien was asked to assess McQuaids performance in his first game back from injury, and it was pretty clear he wasnt ready to put the defenseman into any other different category aside from the rest of his struggling teammates.
Its his first game back, surmised Julien. The way were playing right now, its too easy to jump on guys, and Im not going to do that.
McQuaid finished with 14:52 of ice time and fired a pair of shots on the Montreal net, and otherwise appeared healthy and ready to jump back into the Bs regular rotation moving forward. But the rangy Bs blueliner was discouraged at the lackluster team result following the game just as he was pumped to be ready for game play on Thursday morning prior to puck drop.
We were a little scrambly and probably at times trying to force things and make things happen when theyre not there, said McQuaid. When you try to force things a lot of time it can force turnovers.
I felt good as far as my skating and stuff like that. For the most part being in game situations I felt pretty good. But obviously Im not very happy with the end results, so take it with a grain of salt I guess.
The good news for McQuaid and the Bruins: He's healthy and ready to start playing in a string of games as opposed to the Bruins being forced to play Steve Kampfer or Matt Bartkowski. Both should be able to contribute in time, but its still clear McQuaid is the best choice for a bottom-pairing role when all six Bs defensemen are slotted into the lineup correctly.