TAMPA – Apparently, Claude Julien has found a way to wring some extra offensive production out of his defensemen corps.
Sit one of them out a game as a healthy scratch, and then insert that player back into the lineup for some instant, old fashioned goal-scoring. Dougie Hamilton returned from being a healthy scratch to pot a goal in Florida’s win on Thursday night, and Adam McQuaid did the same in Saturday night’s 5-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
“It was that ‘great that I’m not going to go the whole year without getting a [goal]’ kind of feeling,” said a smiling McQuaid following the win. “It feels good. I’ve always said it feels good to contribute in that way when you don’t score normally.
“It goes without saying that we all want to play and nobody wants to sit out. I didn’t necessarily go out feeling like I had to prove myself. I just wanted to go out, play my game and really be solid. Obviously when you’re in the lineup then you want to do anything you can to stay in there.”
The 6-foot-5 McQuaid scored the second goal of the game when he fired a shot from the high point through a Jarome Iginla screen in front of the Tampa Bay net.
More importantly McQuaid also provided his conventional punishing snarl around the net as the stay-at-home defenseman in a shutdown effort for the Black and Gold. McQuaid finished with three hits and a blocked shot in 17:44 of ice time, and also managed to drop the gloves with Nate Thompson in the third period after both skaters had tumbled awkwardly into the corner.
The physicality in the defensive zone and the threat of McQuaid dropping the gloves are certainly attributes that separate him from some of the other Bruins defensemen, and he featured it all on Saturday night.
“There was no doubt he was really good tonight. I really liked [McQuaid’s] game,” said Claude Julien. “He responded well, and that’s what you want. Guys don’t want to sit and watch even though we have extra bodies. You like to see the response that you got from him tonight, and from Dougie the other night [against the Panthers]. That’s what keeps everybody going, and they come back and play even better if they have that great attitude.”
Now the pressure is on Matt Bartkowski to score his first goal of the season when he re-enters the lineup after serving as a healthy defensemen scratch for the Bruins on Saturday night.