Bruins

It's a healthy start for McQuaid

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It's a healthy start for McQuaid

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- Adam McQuaid went from his sick bed to being a goal-scorer, before having to settle for being ajust plain solid performer in a Bruins win.

McQuaid, who missed Thursday's opener because of illness, had what proved to be the game-winning goal eventually taken away from him in Saturday nights 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden. The goal, which put Boston ahead 2-1, was instead awarded to Daniel Paille after McQuaids shot ricocheted off Pailles leg into the net.

McQuaid missed two practices leading up to the Tampa Bay game after catching a nasty virus as he was returning from the team-bonding session in Maine. McQuaid, who was in bed for two days (though he managed to make it to TD Garden for the banner-raising ceremony Thursday), practiced Friday and skated for the full morning skate on Saturday.

It felt good. It was tough not playing Thursday night, so I was happy to be out there today, said McQuaid. I think confidence comes with experience, and knowing that guys will be there to back you up.

At the same time you have to take a peek over your shoulder and make sure there is someone there. You have to know when the right times are to jump up. When you see the opportunity, try to get up there when you can.

The eventual assist for McQuaid arrived after he stepped up into an offensive play and hammered a drop-down pass from Tyler Seguin while rotating around into the offensive zone. Seguin fought to keep the puck in the Boston offensive zone and perfectly envisioned the big defenseman rushing into the offensive zone, and then smacked a puck that bounced off bodies before resting in the net.

McQuaid had 15 points (3 goals and 12 assists) in 67 games last season as a first time NHL regular, but continues to exhibit signs that theres sill some offensive development in the 24-year-old defensemens future.

Its something we want to see more from all of the guys on the back end, but if you had to pick a guy on defense thats probably the least of them expected to go up, itd be McQuaid, said coach Claude Julien. Hes such a defensive-minded defenseman that when you see him supporting the attack, it certainly opens peoples eyes or gets the attention of the people watching him.

We want him to do that more. Hes a pretty smart individual. He picks his spots, and he doesnt want to lose that identity of being a good shutdown defenseman. But McQuaid also wants to help in regards to other areas of the game. Hes got a good shot, and I think hes just getting more comfortable. McQuaid got an understanding that our system requires that our Ds jump up whenever the occasion occurs.

The towering defenseman also got into it several times with Pavel Kubina earlier in the game another good sign that McQuaid is feeling much closer to normal. The offense is something McQuaid is constantly working on in his time with Bruins, but the on-ice snarl seems to come pretty naturally at this point an emerging player in the Bruins organization.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

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Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

BOSTON – At the end of the day, it was simply a game where the Bruins allowed themselves to get outworked in the third period and overtime. 

The B’s held a three-goal lead in the second period and still enjoyed a two-goal lead in the third period, but eventually dropped a frustrating, futile 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on Saturday night. It was clear to most speaking after the game that the Bruins eased up on the gas pedal once they’d scored their fourth goal of the game in the second period, and simply watched as the Sabres stomped all over them in the game’s second half. 

“I think we might have been a little bit too scared to play [in the third period], you know? We tried to just flip the pucks away, and didn’t make any plays trying to get it in the zone. Instead we should have just kept going like we did in the first two periods,” said David Pastrnak, who scored a pair of goals early in the loss to allow the Bruins to build up the three-goal lead. “Obviously we’re disappointed. We got one point. I think we didn’t play our game in the third period. We kind of stopped playing and they were all over us, and you know, it’s on us. We were the ones that gave them their point, but the first two periods were good. It’s just another learning session.”

To Pastrnak’s point, the Bruins were outshot by a 15-6 margin in the final 20 minutes of regulation and 21-6 overall in the third period and overtime prior to Ryan O’Reilly’s game-winner during 3-on-3 play. It was at this point the Bruins certainly missed stalwart stay-at-home defensemen Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller in the D-zone, and fell short of qualified penalty killers while trying to burn off a Brandon Carlo interference call at the end of the third period. 

All of that caught up to them once the Bruins loosened their grip on the Sabres, but certainly the feeling is that the loss should’ve been avoidable even if some of the circumstances made it difficult for the Black and Gold. It also should have been avoidable against a Sabres hockey club that was dreadful last season, and is again one of the doormats in the Atlantic Division in the early going thus far. 

“Those are the games you can’t lose. We obviously didn’t do the job there in the third and close it out, but we’re going to have to regroup and work on our game and be better for the next one,” said Brad Marchand. “We didn’t play the game we needed to play. We relaxed a bit and we started losing a few battles in the wrong areas, and you know, they just played better than we did.”

It’s mystifying that any team would need a crash-and-born loss like Saturday night in order to learn any lessons moving forward, and it certainly might have been a different story for the Bruins if they weren’t missing a few big defensive pieces. But that’s not how it went down for the Black and Gold as they sagged under rising pressure from the Sabres, and simply stopped working when the chips were on the table late in Saturday night’s game.