BOSTON — Adam McQuaid returned to the Bruins’ lineup Wednesday night for the first time since a Jan. 19 road loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
McQuaid, who missed 52 regular-season games and the entire 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs because of quad and ankle injuries, provided the B’s with great energy and physicality right from the first puck drop at TD Garden. He was credited with a team-high four hits and two blocked shots in the 2-0 preseason win over the Washington Capitals.
“I think he came out and tried to make a statement there that he’s ready to play, and he wants to be here,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said. “I thought he played a real strong game. I gave him high marks for his first game back and how well he played for his first game back.
“I thought he showed some grit. I said to these guys here that he’s showed that he’s determined to want to stay here, and he wanted to make a statement, and I thought he did.”
McQuaid received 19:04 of ice time, the fourth-highest on the team. He also played 1:57 on the penalty kill, and the unit finished 2-for-2.
“It definitely felt pretty good to be out there — to be part of a win again,” McQuaid said. “At times, I felt pretty good. Other times, there was a little bit of rust here and there. Again, I’m just trying to start building on things and pushing forward.”
McQuaid could be a key component of the Bruins’ blue line if he remains healthy throughout the season. He provides a valuable physical element, is able to kill penalties and will drop the gloves to protect his teammates. The 27-year-old veteran also brings a wealth of playoff experience (54 career games).
The Bruins have nine NHL-caliber defensemen and other prospects, such as Zach Trotman, who are competing for roster spots and/or ice time during training camp and preseason games. The B’s third pairing could be filled by several different players (Kevan Miller, David Warsofsky, Matt Bartkowski, Torey Krug, McQuaid, etc.) this season, and McQuaid made a strong case Wednesday night to be one of those guys.
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